Q&A – 27 January 2020

Oversleeping and death

I have a tendency of sleeping long hours, which I enjoy. There is this particular individual who is threatening me that considering I sleep such long hours, there is a chance that I am preparing to permanently go to sleep ie to die. This is causing me a lot of discomfort. Is there no provision in the law that I can use against such threats?
TI, Dar

You have not provided enough details for us on the exact threat. Is it a threat or a mere concern that the person is raising in good faith. Our brief research will not please you as it shows that oversleeping is not very healthy and can indeed lead to early death. To that extent we recommend you see a doctor.

The Penal Code has many offences including threatening violence, threat of injury to persons employed in public service, procuring defilement by threats, written threat to murder, demanding property by written threat, threatening to accuse of crime with intent to extort, procuring execution of deed by threats, demanding thing with threats with intent to steal and threats to burn or destroy.

Based on the limited information we have, we are not sure of the exact threat and where it would fall, if at all, and recommend you see your legal advisor who can guide you further.

Tax on foreign lottery

I won a luxury car in a lottery competition outside of Tanzania. I intend to bring the car to Tanzania and am told I will have to pay some astronomical amounts in import duty. Is there no provision for a poor man like me to get exempted? What other options do I have? Can I offload this car in Kenya and drive it to Dar- will that work out cheaper?
GT, Dar

It is true that your luxury car will be liable to some large amounts in import duty. One other tax that you have forgotten to mention is the applicability of 18% value added tax which you will have to pay.

Importation falls under the East African Community Customs Management Act, which is a common act across East Africa meaning whether you import the car through Tanzania or Kenya, the same taxes will apply. There is no separate provision for a poor or rich man – the tax law applies to all equally.

An option you have is to sell the car wherever it is now. However please note that under our Income Tax Act you are likely going to be held liable to pay income tax on your worldwide income meaning that if this comes to the notice of TRA, you will get taxed for the sell as well, even though it is out of the country.

Under the Income Tax Act there is a provision whereby the Minister for Finance may exempt you from such taxability of income – however that option is discretionary and unlikely that you will get it for a lottery win. Your tax advisor can guide you further.

Trial of drug offences

I have seen some of the drug cases being tried in the High Court District Registry, some tried in the Corruption and Economic Crime Division of the High Court and some being tried in other subordinate Courts. I am confused with this. What determines the competence of Court to try a drug offence? Is it the prosecutor who decides where he wants the charge to be tried?
YT, Dar

Jurisdiction to try a drug offence depends on the drug law in force when the drug offence was committed. The drug law in force up to 15 September, 2015 was the Drugs and Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Drugs Act (DPITDA), Cap 95 R.E 2002. Under this law, jurisdiction to try a drug offence was dependent on the section of the law under which the offence was charged. Many offences charged under the DPITDA were triable by the High Court, District Registries save for the offences charged under section 12.

The DPITDA was repealed by the Drug Control and Enforcement Act, 2015 (DCEA) which came into force 15 September, 2015 which was further amended by the Drug Control and Enforcement (Amendment) Act, 2017. The DCEA and its amendment changed the test of jurisdiction in drug offences. Under the DCEA, jurisdiction is dependent on the weight of the drug involved. For prohibited plants like cannabis, sativa and khat a charge becomes triable by the High Court if the drug weighs more than 50kgs. If the cannabis, sativa or khat weighs less than 50kgs it is tried by a subordinate Court but not a primary Court. For manufactured drugs like cocaine and heroin, once its weight exceeds 200 grams, the offence becomes triable by the High Court. Below 200 grams and the offence is triable by subordinate Courts.

Further, from 8 July, 2016 all the drug offences that are triable by the High Court were listed in the First Schedule to the Economic and Organised Crime Control Act as economic offences. It was after that date when the Corruption and Economic Crime Division of the High Court assumed the jurisdiction to try drug offences that were committed after 8 July, 2016 which meets the trial threshold required for a drug offence to be tried by the High Court. Hence for a drug offence to be tried in the Corruption and Economic Crime Division of the High Court, it must have been committed after 8 July, 2016 and secondly it must meet the weight threshold required by the law for a drug offence to be tried by the High Court. A drug offence committed prior to 8 July, 2016 cannot be tried by the Corruption and Economic Crime Division of the High Court because prior to that drug offences were ordinary criminal cases that were within the domain of ordinary Courts.