Q&A – 5 September 2016

I want my diamond ring

I gave my wife an expensive diamond ring. We are at the verge of having a divorce as I want my freedom. I want my ring back otherwise I will not consent to divorce. How can you help?
FP, Dar

It seems you will be happier when you are in possession of your diamond ring as opposed to the freedom your divorce may give you. In any case section 61 of the Law of Marriage Act addresses the issue of gifts between husband and wife, and states that where, during the subsistence of a marriage, either spouse gives any property to the other, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the property thereafter belongs absolutely to the donee.

It seems very unlikely that you will get back your ring. You had given it as a gift and it becomes the property of your wife. However there maybe very narrow grounds to succeed that your lawyer can explore after getting all the facts but otherwise, unless your wife consents which we doubt considering diamonds are a woman’s best friend, your case looks weak.

You also need not give consent to divorce. As long as the conditions for divorce are met as per the law, your wife or you are entitled to divorce.

Liability of directors

My lawyer says that if I am a non executive director, I cannot be held responsible for the actions of the company. Is that true? What can I do to protect myself?
FF, Dar

It is not true. Directors have a fiduciary duty towards the company and its shareholders. Additionally, it is untrue that the directors can walk scot free, even if in a non executive position, from the conduct of the company.

Infact even under the Companies Act, Income Tax Act, VAT Act, Tax Administration Act, National Security Act, Anti Money Laundering Act, to mention a few, directors can not only be held personally liable for the actions or inactions of a company but may also be imprisoned if they do not exercise reasonable diligence in their duties.

We recommend that you only be a director of companies with proper governance in place and get a directors liability insurance which however will not cover you for any criminal actions although your legal fees may be covered.

Police after me

I am a pharmacist in Dar and one of my patients bought some drugs from my pharmacy and proceeded to commit suide. In his suicide note he wrote that he bought the drugs from me. The police are now after me. What can this be? Please guide me.
QG, Dar

Section 216 of the Penal Code states that any person who- (1) procures another to kill himself; or (2) counsels another to kill himself and thereby induces him to do so; or (3) aids another in killing himself, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for life. Aiding someone with suicide, if that is what you did, is perhaps what the police are looking for you for.

We hope the drugs that he used to kill himself were prescribed drugs otherwise this can brew serious trouble for you. You should consult your lawyer.

Secret marriage and honeymoon

I want to have a secret marriage ceremony and I don’t want any person to attend our wedding. Is this allowed under Tanzanian law? Are honeymoon’s compulsory after marriage? My wife insists that it is a condition to marriage.
TK, Dar

The Law of Marriage Act, 1971 states that, any member of the public may attend a marriage in civil form so far as the accommodation in the office of the district registrar may reasonably permit. Further to that, any person who is a follower of the religion according to the rites of which a marriage is contracted may attend that marriage. Also, any member of the community to which the parties or either of them belong may attend a marriage contracted in Islamic form or according to rites recognized by customary law.

From the above, no marriage can be contracted in secrecy under Tanzanian law. The best you can hope for is that, no one shows up during the proceedings of the marriage either at the Registrar’s office or at the public place of worship, wherever you choose to get married.

As for a honeymoon, we have checked our statutes and this word does not appear anywhere. It is surely not a condition subsequent to marriage. Our research reveals that honeymoon is the traditional holiday taken by newlyweds to celebrate their marriage in intimacy and seclusion. Today, honeymoons are often celebrated in destinations considered exotic and/or romantic.

This is the period when newlywed couples take a break to share some private and intimate moments that helps establish love in their relationship. This period provide them opportunity to know each other in a soothing environment. This privacy in turn is believed to ease the comfort zone towards a physical relationship, which is one of the primary means of bonding during the initial days of marriage.

Hence it is entirely your choice if you want to go on a honeymoon or not. The law does not force you to but perhaps your wife will have such an expectation. It is the expectation of your wife that you have to manage. We wish you good luck.