Q&A – 27 April 2020

Boyfriend intending to get married

My boyfriend is intending to get married to another woman. I have all the particulars. He decided literally 5 days after we broke up and I am sure there was a parallel relationship. It shows how unreliable him and men are. My lawyer says I can object to this marriage on grounds that he is mine. How do I do this? What are my rights?
OY, Morogoro

We are sorry to hear about your ‘unreliable’ former boyfriend. Indeed, the Law of Marriage Act provides a process to follow to object a marriage. Section 20 states that (1) Any person may give notice of objection to the registrar or registration officer to whom the notice of intention was given, on the ground that he or she is aware of facts which, under the provisions of this Act, constitute an impediment to the intended marriage.

This section further states that (2) Where a man married under a polygamous marriage has given notice of an intended marriage, his wife or, if he has more than one wife, any of his wives may give notice of objection to the registrar or registration officer to whom the notice of intention was given, on the ground that– (a) having regard to the husband’s means, the taking of another wife is likely to result in hardship to his existing wife or wives and infant children, if any; or (b) the intended wife is of notoriously bad character or is suffering from an infectious or otherwise communicable disease or is likely to introduce grave discord into the household.

Unfortunately, you do not fall under any of the categories of complainants above. The Law doesn’t talk about former girlfriends objecting against their former boyfriends getting married. We are unaware of such a law in any jurisdiction. It would be an attack on marriages just like the coronavirus is an attack on humans. You do not have much of a choice but to live with the fact that he doesn’t want to get married to you. You can surely find another boyfriend. We wish you all the best.

Retrenchment during crisis

I used to work for an oil and gas company in Dar before I moved to head a department in an aviation company. Business has been hard hit now with the health crisis and the company intends to retrench me. I want to demand 12-month salary as compensation. My contract is silent on repatriation but I want to get paid for a ticket back to my home country. What are my rights? If I cannot leave Tanzania because of no flights out, then I want to get paid for every month that I live in Tanzania. Please guide me.
TY, Dar

You have confirmed that the company is going through a tough time and hence wants to retrench for such operational reasons. This is bound to happen in a downturn, and considering that there is no certainty on when things will pick up, we have seen a lot of such retrenchment ongoing especially with the expatriate community.

Unfortunately, this is not a normal termination. The retrenchment is due to operational and financial reasons, which are likely very easy to prove for the company. Having said that, you are entitled to severance of 7 days for each year you have worked in addition to any accrued leave. You might also be entitled to a reasonable notice period pay, which we would expect not to be more than a month or two at the most. If the company wants to give you an ex gratia additional payment, it is entirely discretionary.

It is the employer’s decision to release you based on the crisis and you are not entitled to a 12 month pay. The company has full control over what it should be giving you as an ex gratia payment, if at all.

On repatriation, you have been recruited in Dar, hence you are not entitled to repatriation. Similarly, since you were recruited in Dar, the company has no obligation to maintain you whilst you await for international flights to resume, and your claim of monthly pay will also fail. It is unfortunate what has happened and just like you, the company is severely affected.

TRA not responding to private ruling

We have applied to the TRA for a private ruling. It has been almost 8 months and we have received no response from them. Is there no time limit within which the Commissioner General must respond? What do you advise us to do?
NB, Dar

For certainty in transactions and business dealings, the Tax Administration Act and the regulations thereto provide for a private ruling that binds the TRA. Regulation 22 provides for a statutory format that is to be used. You need to confirm whether you have complied with the format as that could be one of the causes of delay.

Under Regulation 24 you must, amongst others, also state the identity of the applicant; disclose all relevant facts, documents and circumstances relating to the arrangement for which the ruling is sought; state the tax law or laws in respect of which the ruling is sought; and state the provisions of the law, if any, which are relevant to the issues raised in the application. A declaration must also be made to the effect that the information disclosed in the application is true and comprehensive to the best of your knowledge and belief

As long as you have complied with the requirements above, we would expect a response in a reasonable period of time. Eight months is indeed long and we suggest that you remind the Commissioner General on the pendency of the tax ruling. He is obliged to respond to you under law but unfortunately the Tax Administration Act has not stipulated a timeframe within which he must reply.