Q&A – 7 March 2022

Girlfriend threatens to blackmail boyfriend

I am married and only recently broke up with a girlfriend. This girlfriend has been sending me text messages threatening to post my nude photos that she took when I was dating her. She wants a payment of TZS 10M so that she shuts up completely, or a payment of TZS 5M where she will publish photos but not report this to my wife, who doesn’t use social media and hence won’t find out. If I pay her the money she wants, can it be looked at as a bribe? Is she not committing an offence by such a demand? Please guide me.
AP, Dar 

To begin with, it was not a good idea to have a girlfriend when you are married. However, this has been overtaken by events and in any case, is none of our business. We shall focus on the law.
Where a person demands payment from another without reasonable and probable cause by threatening the victim that she/he will cause injury of any kind to the victim whether the intended injury is physical or psychological, such person commits an offence under section 289 of the Penal Code [Cap.89 R.E 2019] called demanding money by threat.

Since the demand of your former girlfriend has no colour of right, she is committing the offence of demanding money by threat and we advise you to report this incident to the Police for arrest, investigation and prosecution of the offender. The facts you have given do not disclose the offence of demanding a bribe.

Bribe is an inducement to refrain from doing what the recipient of the bribe is legally required or authorised to do or an inducement to do what the recipient of the bribe should not have done. Secondly, a bribe should have bearing on the offender’s principal business meaning that the offender’s conduct must have been committed in the course of his employment or business.  The relationship that exists between you and your former girlfriend is that of a former girlfriend and boyfriend and not a principal and agent relationship.

Lastly, the advice we have given you does not take into account whether or not your wife will find out once you report this to the police. You might want to engage with her before making the move above. We provide no guidance as to how to do so or whether you should do so. We wish you good luck.

Village imposes charges for extraction of stones

In my home village there is a quarry where the villagers extract stones for use as domestic building material. Recently the village authority started to impose fees to the residents for extraction of stones from the quarry on the ground that the quarry is within the village land and belongs to the village authority. Does the village authority have power to impose these charges on the residents who extract stones for domestic use only? 
MC, Musoma

Stones are minerals in view of the definition of the term mineral in section 4 of the Mining Act [Cap.123 R.E 2019]. Section 5(1) of the Act vests the entire property and control over all minerals upon any land in the President in trust for the People of Tanzania. A village authority has control over the village land but stones being minerals, though found within the village land, cannot be under control of the village authority.

A village authority can only control a quarry within its area of jurisdiction if it is issued with a mineral right by the Mining Commission. We understand that a village authority has power under section 168 of the Local Government (District Authorities) Act [Cap.287 R.E 2002] to make by-laws for the purpose of carrying into effect its functions. Legislative power of a village authority includes power to make by-laws that imposes charges, fees and fines on the residents.

However, legislative power of a village authority cannot extend to matters which are expressly excluded from control of the local authorities generally or village authority specifically. Besides, section 18(2) of the Mining Act waives the requirement for obtaining a licence where a member of the public extracts minerals that are commonly used as building materials and where the purpose of the extraction is personal use. The village authority which has no mineral right can only guard against the use of the quarry in a way that it doesn’t pollute the environment, and not by imposing fees to the residents for extraction of the stones from the quarry.

Registration of SIM when no fingers

Last year my cousin lost all his right fingers and part of his left arm in a car accident after she was registered with NIDA and availed with a NIDA identity card. She now wants to register a new SIM card but is unsure if she can be allowed to do so without her fingerprint being taken by the service provider. I know the registration of a SIM card biometrically involves taking of fingerprints but I don’t know how the law guarantees the right of people with finger disability to register a SIM Card. Can you please guide?    
MM, Tabora  

Regulation 5(7) of the Electronic and Postal Communications (SIM Card Registration) Regulations, 2020 prescribes the procedure for registration of a SIM card by people with finger disability or defaced fingerprints. A person with defaced fingerprints or finger disability should first present her/his NIDA identity card to the service provider/the operator for SIM Card registration. After receiving the NIDA Card, the operator shall seek approval of NIDA to register a SIM Card for the customer with the defaced fingerprints or finger disability without taking her/his fingerprint.

NIDA can allow registration of a SIM card based on verification of the customer by way of multiple questions to be put to him or impose any other procedure for verification other than the use of fingerprints. Where NIDA directs that multiple questions be used for verification in lieu of fingerprints, the service provider shall ask the customer such questions as suggested by NIDA in order to verify if she/he is the one appearing in the NIDA database. If the customer answers 2/3 (66%) of the questions put to her/him correctly, verification shall be considered successful and the operator may proceed to register the customer without taking her/his fingerprint. In the event NIDA designates any other method of verification other than the use of multiple questions, such other methods shall be used by the operator to verify the customer. The service provider is required to keep the verification record taken in lieu of fingerprint.