Q&A – 21 August 2017

Breast implants illegal in Tanzania

My boyfriend wants me to have a big chest before we marry and has requested that I get breast implants at a private hospital in Dar. I consulted a lawyer friend about this who said that since I am a Tanzanian citizen, the state does not allow change of body structure. How can the State monitor such operations? What can I do? Can my boyfriend keep the breast implants as a condition to getting married?
HG, Dar

We have personally never heard of any doctors or hospitals in Dar es Salaam who have the capacity to perform breast implants. We stand to be corrected though. The doctrine of the state trying to protect you from undergoing a change of body structure because it has an interest in you is unheard of. It would be illegal to go to the gym as weight loss does lead to body structure changes also! Yours is a surgical intervention leading to this structural change. It is not an operation for abortion.

This is an operation that you want to undergo for a cosmetic change and as long as it is safe and not against public policy, we don’t see a problem. The States interest is primarily your safety. What your lawyer might be saying is that you can only undergo such procedures at hospitals that have accreditation and a licence. The implant itself must also be approved by the Tanzania Food and Drug Authority (TFDA).

If the TFDA has not approved the material to be used, usage of such material is prima facie illegal. We suggest that you contact the TFDA to make sure that the material for such surgery is approved; the Ministry of Health should be able to guide you whether the Doctor and hospital have the licence and expertise to perform this highly intricate operation. We suggest you find this out as it is important. As for whether your boyfriend can keep these implants as a condition, the answer is that you cannot stop him from doing so.

Award for costs in case very low

I am a Tanzanian businessman and resident of Sumbawanga. In 2009 I successfully defended a suit that my customer had instituted against me in the Resident Magistrate’s Court at Kisutu on allegations of breach of contract. The Court awarded me costs of the suit but with great disappointment I have been awarded very minimal costs compared to the amount I spent defending the suit which includes transport, taxis, food, entertainment and accommodation including other costs for my witnesses. I feel that the Court has not been fair to me. What should I do?
TY, Sumbawanga

Taxation is the legal term given to the process of the Court of assessing the costs that the successful litigant incurs in prosecuting the suit. Taxing master, normally the registrar or deputy registrar or the resident magistrate in charge in case of the lower Courts, is the officer of the Court responsible for taxation. The whole process starts by the successful litigant, if awarded costs, presenting in Court a list of costs in a tabulation form commonly known as bill of costs, of amounts he or she has spent in prosecuting the suit. This should be done in a time not exceeding 60 days from the date of judgment. Only necessary costs are entertained by the Court.

Costs as to entertainment of your lawyer or witnesses are not accepted. The bill of costs has to normally be supported by receipts and vouchers for all disbursements together with any documents, drafts or copies thereof to be relied upon during taxation and must be reasonable. What is reasonable depends on the judicial discretion of the taxing master who after considering the facts, complexity, public importance amongst other surrounding circumstances of the case at the trial, decides on what figure the bill of costs should be taxed at. Unless the taxing master erred in these principles in which case the aggrieved party can refer the matter to a Judge of the High Court, the decision of the taxing master on the quantum is final Coming to your question, we are not in a position to default the taxing master for lack of sufficient facts. We do not have details of the bill of costs you presented in Court nor do we have a copy of the taxing master’s ruling.

However should you think that the taxing master erred in principles pertaining to assessment of costs, we advise you to refer the matter to the Judge. Reference to the Judge is made by way of Chamber Application supported by an affidavit within 21 days after issuance of the certified copy of the taxing master’s decision. In case you are out of time, you can apply for enlargement of time upon showing good cause for such delay.

Factory owners colluding in price

There are certain factories owned by some big shot owners that have developed monopolistic behavior. They have colluded to fix prices of the product and are creating an artificial shortage. There are all signs of practices that are anti competitive. Is there a law that can protect consumers in such a scenario?
JL, Dar

The Fair Competition Act comes to protect you. This act established the Fair Competition Commission (FCC) which oversees such activities and protects the interests of consumers. The Act has under it the Fair Competition Rules. Under the said rules there are provisions on how complaints are handled. As a consumer you can complain by submitting information to the FCC in any manner, or complaining using a standard form that the FCC Rules provide. Thereafter the investigation department of the FCC will investigate the complaint in view of determining if those against whom you have complained against have a case to answer or not. The Commission can use its discretion whether to entertain your complaint or not and if not entertained reasons must be provided. We suggest that you take the route above and fight for your rights through the FCC.