Q&A – 6 March 2023

60 years and driving bus

I was called by the Transport Regulatory Authority (LATRA) officer to go to their offices which I did. Upon arriving there he told me that I was accused of the offence he called ‘engaging a person who is above the age of sixty to drive a commuter bus.’ Both my bus and the driver were also at the LATRA offices. My commuter bus driver is a retired Government driver who is aged 65 years with long experience in driving senior Government officers. He also possesses a class ‘C’ driving licence. I would like to know if there is any law which prohibits such experienced drivers who are above the age of sixty from driving a commuter bus. This offence looks very strange to me because I know many drivers who are beyond the age of 60 but still drive commuter buses. Am I being targeted?
RE, Dar es Salaam

You are not being targeted and LATRA is right.

The Transport Licencing (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations, 2020 fixes the age limit for driving public service vehicles such as commuter buses, inter-city and international buses. A person driving such a commuter bus should not be below the age of 25 years but should not be above the age of 60. For inter-city and international public buses, the minimum driving age is 30 years and the maximum age is 60. For a school bus the minimum driving age is 35 and the maximum is 60. These driving age limits have been designed to ensure safety of the passengers and the road users generally. It is a crime for a licenced carrier like you or a school bus owner to engage or employ a driver who is below or above the prescribed age limit for the purpose of driving a school bus, intercity or international bus. The offence of engaging a driver whose age is below or above the prescribed age limits attracts a fine of not less than TZS 200,000 but not exceeding TZS 500,000 or imprisonment for a term of not less than 1 year but not exceeding 2 years or both, fine and imprisonment.

We have also noted with concern that a good number of drivers who drive school buses are actually between 25 and 35. That is illegal and schools should take note of this.

Pension benefit for a convicted public servant

I am a public servant who has served the Government for 25 years and I am now 56 years old. Unfortunately, I have a criminal charge in Court against me for the last two years now and I don’t see the possibility of the trial being concluded within the next two years. I want to apply for a plea bargaining in order to have this matter concluded but I am getting an opinion from some people that because I am a public servant once I plead guilty and get convicted of an offence, I shall be dismissed from public service and that conviction and dismissal from public service shall disqualify me from getting my retirement pension. Is this assertion correct? Please guide me as I am concerned about my well-being.
LA, Dodoma

Regulation 40 of the Public Service Regulations, 2022 provides in clear terms that a public servant who is dismissed from public service, who at the time of dismissal had qualified for the pension or gratuity under the Pension Scheme, is entitled to a lump pension and passages but shall only be disqualified from getting monthly pension. A public servant qualifies for a pension if he has contributed to the Public Service Social Security Fund for not less than 180 months and has attained a retirement age which is 55 years. Since you have worked for the Government for 25 years and you are 56 years now, you qualify for a lump sum pension.

Your conviction and dismissal from public service will only disqualify you from getting monthly pension. However, do bear in mind that a public servant who is convicted of corruption or embezzlement of public funds is only entitled to a lump sum pension which is calculated on the basis of the employee’s monthly statutory deductions alone. The employer’s share is removed when calculating the lump sum pension for a public servant dismissed from public service due to conviction of corruption or embezzlement of public funds.

In short, your conviction will not disqualify you from pension entitlement but the amount of the pension you will be entitled to will depend on the nature of the offence to which you intend to plead guilty to and hence you must move with caution.

Duty to report sale of motor vehicle to TRA

I owned a motor vehicle which I sold one year ago and gave its registration card to the buyer upon signing the sale agreement. However, I did not notify Tanzania Revenue Authority of the disposition of the car because I agreed with the buyer that he would have notified the TRA and bear the necessary fee for change of ownership in the registration card. Last week I was arrested by traffic police who told me that my vehicle had knocked down a pedestrian and caused his death. I told them that I sold the car one year ago and showed them the sale agreement but they claimed that since the car is still registered in my name, I am the one responsible for the accident unless I disclose my driver who was driving the vehicle at the time of accident. This looks unfair to me. Can you guide me if the traffic police are right or wrong?
HJ, Mwanza

Section 15 of the Road Traffic Act creates a presumption of ownership of a motor vehicle in that, a person in whose name the motor vehicle remains registered is presumed to be the owner of the vehicle unless it is proved to the contrary. Moreover, it is the seller of a motor vehicle who has the obligation under section 16 of the Road Traffic Act to notify the TRA on the disposition of a motor vehicle and apply for the change of ownership from him to the buyer. Not the other way round as you had structured in your sale agreement.

Since the motor vehicle remains registered in your name, you have the burden to rebut the presumption of ownership of the vehicle. In our view the sale agreement is enough to rebut the presumption of ownership of a motor vehicle if it is proved to be a genuine sale agreement and not an agreement just created to escape liability. Your lawyer can guide you further.