Q&A – 30 July 2018

Traffic police hiding and finings

I travel a lot and do not understand the logic of why traffic officers hide to catch you for speeding or crossing red lights. Why can they not be seen to the driver on roads so that we are reminded not to drive fast? Is it legal for traffic police to act in such a manner?
IP, Dar

We are not very sure what you have in mind. You cannot have traffic police officers lining up along all streets and highways to ‘remind’ you not to cross red lights or drive within speed limits. As a driver you know or ought to know what the rules are, and it is impractical for your suggestion to be implemented.

We also see nothing wrong in traffic police hiding in order to catch you. That in itself is a deterrent for speeding drivers.

Graphic designer violating IP rights

We own a number of trademarks that are duly registered in Tanzania and across the region. We have found out the name of a particular graphics designer who is using our trademarks for gain. Is this not an offence under the law and what can I do about this?
MI, Dar

Under the Trade and Services Marks Act this is an offence and you can sue the infringer of your trademark. However, and even more serious, under the CyberCrimes Act 2015 such behavior is actually a criminal offence.

Section 24 of the CyberCrimes Act states the following: (1) A person shall not use a computer system with intent to violate intellectual property rights protected under any written law. (2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and in case the infringement is on (a)  non-commercial basis, is liable to a fine of not less than five million shillings or to imprisonment for a term of not less than three years or both; or (b)  commercial basis, is liable to a fine of not less than twenty million shillings or to imprisonment for a term of not less than five years or to both, in addition, be liable to pay compensation to the victim of the crime as the court may deem just.

You can therefore report this to the CyberCrimes unit of the Police forces for their necessary action.

Transportation of meat in Tanzania

Is there a law that protects us consumers on how meat that we eat is transported around the country? Where I live I see cows being slaughtered and meat being transported in open trucks with no refrigeration or hygiene standards. The same meat is used by the large hotels and households. What are the checks and balances in place?
EG, Arusha

Meat cannot be transported in such trucks. The Tanzania Food, Drugs and Cosmetic Act has a specific section devoted to this stating that no meat can be transported in vehicles that have not been approved by the TFDA. How strictly this is being followed is something you will have to contact TFDA about, but the law makes it mandatory for meat to be properly transported. This law has a fine and custodial option for the offence of not properly transporting meat.

Names of directors on company letterhead

I have established an information technology company and have already started business. Is it a requirement of the law that every company should have a letterhead? What should be the contents in the said letterhead? I find this to be expensive to print and thus looking at ways of avoiding this. What should I do?
GJ, Dar

You will certainly need letterheads when you are writing formal letters and hence are unsure what you really mean. Printing letterheads is not expensive and you always have the option of printing letterheads directly from your printer.

On the contents of the letterheads, section 213 of the Companies Act provides that every company shall, in all business documentation on or in which the company’s name appears and which is issued or sent by the company to any person in any part of the territory, state in legible letters with respect to every director being a corporation, the corporate name, and with respect to every director being an individual, the following particulars (a) his present name, or the initials thereof, and present surname; (b) any former names and surnames: Provided that, if special circumstances exist which render it in the opinion of the Registrar expedient that such an exemption should be granted, the Registrar may by order grant, subject to such conditions as may be specified in the order, exemption from all or any of the obligations imposed.

Also if a company defaults in complying with this requirement, every officer of the company who is in default shall be liable on conviction for each offence to a fine, and for the purposes of this subsection, where a corporation is an officer of the company, any officer of the corporation shall be deemed to be an officer of the company. The expression ”director” includes any person in accordance with whose directions or instructions the directors of the company are accustomed to act and the expression ”officer” shall be construed accordingly. The expression ”initials” includes a recognized abbreviation of a name.

We must point out that a lot of the companies in Tanzania fail to comply with the explicit provisions of the Companies Act which provides that on letterheads name of directors amongst other must be mentioned.