Q&A – 20 November 2023

Leasing house to prostitute

Is it an offence to lease a house to commercial sex workers? If it is an offence what is the fate of the house leased to the prostitutes in case the landlord or the landlady is convicted of leasing his or her house? Is prostitution an offence in Tanzania
KG, Dodoma

There is no express offence called leasing a house to prostitutes, however a person who knowingly leases a house for prostitution may be charged and prosecuted for the offence called keeping a house for the purpose of prostitution contrary to section 148 of the Penal Code [Cap.16 R.E 2022]. It is an offence under section 148 of the Penal Code to keep a house, room, set a room or place of any kind for the purpose of prostitution. Section 25(e) of the Penal Code gives Courts powers to impose a forfeiture order against any property used to commit a crime or against any property which is a proceeds of a crime. Upon conviction the Court may order forfeiture of the house leased to the prostitutes without necessarily following the long procedure under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The Penal Code does not directly prohibit prostitution but sections 145 and 146 prohibits living on the earnings of prostitution wholly or partly. We don’t think there is a prostitution which is done entirely for leisure. Prostitution is mostly for earning a living, so a person found engaging in prostitution or harbouring prostitutes can be arrested and charged with the offence of living on the earnings of prostitution. The fact that the offender is wholly or partially living on the earnings of prostitution might not have direct evidence. However, the offence can be proved by circumstantial evidence showing the average number of customers the offender is serving or harbouring, other lawful activity she/he is doing apart from prostitution and the circumstances in which the offender is arrested. It is worth noting that this offence of living on the earnings of prostitution covers both male and female and it extends to those collecting the proceeds of prostitution and live on such proceeds wholly or partly.

Performing rituals in game park

After we heard that there would be El Nino rains this year, our village elders decided to enter a game park to perform rituals to reduce the amount of rain and save the crops and lives of people in our community. Unfortunately park rangers found the elders in the game park performing rituals with traditional weapons. The rangers arrested and charged the elders with the offences of unlawful entering into the game park without a permit and unlawful possession of weapons in the game park. Shockingly the elders have been recently convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. We have been surprised by this sentence and would like to know if the performance of rituals in the game park is such a serious offence which attracts a penalty of twenty years in jail.
GR, Manyara

Entering a game park such as a national park, game reserve or a game controlled area with any kind of weapon without a permit issued by the wildlife authority like Tanzania National Park or Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority is an economic offence listed in paragraph 14 of the First Schedule to the Economic and Organised Crime Control Act. The minimum sentence prescribed under section 60(2) of the Economic and Organised Control Act for any economic offence regardless of its gravity is 20 years imprisonment. Entering a game park for performance of rituals is, per se, not an offence under the wildlife laws or the Economic and Organised Crime Control Act. It is an offence to enter the game park without a permit issued by the wildlife authority in-charge of the game park. Any person who wishes to enter a game park for rituals or any purpose must seek and obtain permits from the wildlife authority responsible for the management of the game park one desires to enter.

There is no automatic right to enter a game park for rituals. The wildlife authorities need to know who has entered their game parks and for what purpose. In the absence of a permit from the responsible wildlife authority, it becomes difficult to know the intention of the elders going armed into the game park. Entering a game park becomes an economic offence if the person entering the offender goes there armed with any type of weapon which is likely to be used to kill or trap animals in the park.

Termination of a seconded employee

We seconded one of our accountants to our affiliate company for one year. The seconded employee is assigned duties by the affiliate and his performance is audited by the affiliate, however we continue to pay him his salary and other remunerations payable under the contract of employment. The accountant is now being accused of defrauding the affiliate in the course of his duties. We would like to know who between us and the affiliate has power to take disciplinary action against the seconded employee. Please advise.
HS, Iringa

Since the accountant was not transferred to the affiliate but just seconded, he still remains your employee. There is a labour law principle that if you did not hire then you cannot fire. We understand section 61 of the Labour Institutions Act provides factors that can be used to infer an employee-employer relationship but in view of the facts you have provided, we do not think there is a need for drawing inference while there clear facts that the seconded employee was still under your payroll and remained your employee while he was working for the affiliate.

We are thus of the view that the intended disciplinary action can only be taken by you for the fraud committed against the affiliate. The affiliate will be a mere witness for the purpose of proving the disciplinary charges against the employee.