Q&A – 27 December 2021

Fake higher learning institutions giving academic awards

Recently I have seen a number of fake or non-reputable higher learning institutions giving in Tanzania to Tanzanian chief executive officers some types of university level awards amongst others. They also pose with those awarded for a photo and give them a certificate, plaque or medal, and the local media covers them on the front pages! Initially I believed that this was genuine until recently when I found out that it is a big scam and that these chief executive officers actually pay a lot of money to get those awards. My question is two fold. First, is there any authority in Tanzania that approves and vet such awards? Second, is there any criminality in giving such fake university level awards? When these CEOs pose for the photos I find them looking pretty stupid. Your thoughts!?
RW, Arusha

We agree that we see a lot of these bigwig CEOs posing for awards. Some awards are actually unknown and in fact paid for! Infact there are two types of awards- those awards that are ‘academic’ awards, and those that award the CEO for best performance amongst others, both of which it seems they pay for! Both seem to excite the CEOs.

As per regulation 33 of the Universities (General) Regulations, 2003, validation and equation of university level award conferred by a foreign university is done by Tanzania Commission for Universities. If the foreign academic award is a technical education award, its verification is done by the National Council for Technical Education whereas Vocational Education and Training Authority validates certificates in vocational education, and training and National Examination Council of Tanzania verifies certificates in secondary and teachers education. However, this validation and equation of foreign academic awards is only mandatory when the holder is applying for enrolment to pursue a course at university or higher leaning institution.

Notwithstanding the above, it is an offence under regulation 47(1)(c) (2) and 62(1)(d) of the Universities (General) Regulations, 2013 for a local or a foreign university, whether the university is fake or not, to offer or confer a university level award including honorary degree to a person in the United Republic without obtaining approval of the Tanzania Commission for Universities. This means honorary degree or university level award, if conferred to a Tanzanian, who is in a foreign country, does not need the approval of the Tanzania Commission for Universities; however if the award is conferred to a person who is in Tanzania, the university conferring it must obtain approval of the Tanzania Commission for Universities, which does not seem to be the case at the moment.

The offence of offering or conferring a university level award or honorary degree to a person in Tanzania without approval of the Tanzania Commission for Universities is punishable under regulation 62(1)(d) of the Regulations by a fine of not less than TZS 2,000,000.

Finally, our brief internet research reveals that there are many scams out there where CEOs actually pay large sums to get such awards!

Keeping cash at home

I drew a large sum of cash from the bank and kept them at home. These are the funds for which I paid full taxes. The bank reported me to the Financial Intelligence Unit and the law enforcement authorities came to look for me and they conducted a search in my house to find the money I withdrew. Is it an offence to keep a large sum of money at home? 
HU, Dar

Under regulation 5(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering (Electronic Fund Transfer and Cash Transaction Reporting) Regulations, 2019, a bank is obliged to report to the Financial Intelligence Unit a cash withdrawal involving TZS or foreign currency equivalent to USD 10,000 or more in the course of a single transaction. The duty to report cash withdrawal is based on the amount withdrawn and not whether the bank is suspicious with the transaction or not.

After reporting the cash transaction, the FIU makes their analysis of the transaction and may decide to report it to the law enforcement agents for investigation. Though it is not an offence to keep large sum of cash money at home, where a law enforcement agent suspects that the large cash held at home is likely to be proceeds of crime or that it is intended to be used to commit a crime like bribery, the holder of the money needs to clear the doubt of the law of enforcement agent by giving a reasonable explanation for holding such large sum of cash at home. Otherwise, and unless there are facts you are hiding from us, we do not see an offence.

Payment of fine in installments

My cousin is facing a criminal charge and wants to enter into a plea bargaining arrangement but we are worried that if he is convicted on his own plea and sentenced to pay a fine, and is not able to pay the fine in lump sum, he will be committed to prison. We would like to know if he can pay the fine in installment? 
AK, Dar

Section 330 of the Criminal Procedure Act [Cap.20 R.E 2019] gives Courts discretionary power to order a fine to be paid in installments at the time of imposing such a fine sentence or subsequent to the imposition of a fine. Hence the application to pay fine in installments can be made on the date of imposition of the fine immediately after the Court pronounces the fine sentence or on another date after the fine order has been made. A person committed to prison for failure to pay a fine can apply for suspension of execution of a prison sentence and the Court can release him on bail in order to enable him to pay the fine in installments.

Courts can decide the number, interval and the amount of installments to be paid until the fine becomes fully paid. In case the offender fails to pay the fine in installments as ordered by the Court, the Court may cancel his bail and direct the prison sentence to be executed. Court may reduce the prison term to be served by the offender depending on the amount of outstanding fine. Unless the provisions of the law creating the offence provides otherwise, the maximum prison term the Court can impose for failure to pay a fine is 24 months. Section 29(d) of the Penal Code provides the scales of prison terms for failure to pay fine depending on the amount of fine imposed by the Court.