Q&A – 9 May 2022

Fraudulent pretence of marriage

I have been living together and cohabitating with a man for a year believing him to be my husband. I have only discovered this year that this man is married and he left his wife in his home village. He did not disclose this to me when we began the relationship that he is lawfully married. What legal action can I take against this man?
SG, Dar

A man who, for the purpose of desire to have sexual intercourse or cohabit with a woman, cheats a woman that he is not married in order to win the woman’s confidence and make the woman believe that she is lawfully married to the man is committing an offence under section 163 of the Penal Code called fraudulent pretence of marriage. You can report the incident to the police because the man’s conduct is a crime but you will to prove that sexual intercourse or cohabitation was procured by deception from the man who made you to believe that you were legally married to him. For your information this offence attracts a 10 year imprisonment.

Resale of chicken bones to restaurant

I ate in a restaurant and before paying my bill, told the owner that I will sell him the chicken bones that were left over in the plate, and then pay the difference. The owner refused and made me pay the full price on the menu although I know that he will use the chicken bones to feed his dogs. The owner is cheating all his customers like that and I want to take action on this illegality. Please guide.
TT, Dar

You have a very creative mind. We don’t see anything wrong with the owner declining your request. When you entered the restaurant was this selling back chicken bones part of the deal? We doubt it. It was the owner’s discretion if he wanted to buy the chicken bones off you and we are sure he was okay with you taking away the bones. If he starts trading in chicken bones like this, it would probably be one of the first restaurants in the world to do so.

Issuing unfilled receipt to a customer

I am a businessman running a small stationery shop. About four months ago someone I know who works in the public service came to my shop and asked me to issue him with an unfilled receipt. He offered me TZS 5000 for giving him a blank receipt but did not disclose what he was going to do with it and I also did not ask him. I signed one receipt and gave it to him without inserting in it the goods I sold him and their value. In actual fact I sold him nothing. Last week the law enforcement officers came to my shop with the person I gave the unfilled receipt. They asked me to confirm if I gave the person a receipt which I confirmed. They also asked me if I sold him stationeries worth TZS 20 million which I denied. They then arrested and interrogated me for the offence of forgery of the receipt. During interrogation I was shown the receipt that bears my signature but other particulars in it were not inserted by me. Does giving someone an unfilled receipt amounts to forgery if the recipient of the receipt is the one who inserted the false information in it?
MM, Musoma

In the context of section 22(1)(b) of the Penal Code [Cap.16 R.E 2002], a person who does or omits to do an act for the purpose of enabling or aiding another person to commit an offence is deemed to have jointly committed the offence with the actual perpetrator of the offence. If the investigator has evidence proving that you gave the blank receipt to the public servant for the purpose of enabling him to make false retirement of an official imprest or false official claim, you can be jointly prosecuted with that public servant for the offence of forgery based on the principle of aiding even though you didn’t insert the false particulars in the receipt. The law allows drawing inference of the purpose for giving a blank receipt from the conduct of the offenders. It is uncommon to issue a receipt to a person without selling him any service or goods. You should have doubted why a public servant would pay money to get a blank receipt without buying goods or service from you.

Area polluted by hides and skins

There is a businessman who owns meat butcheries in our area. That man has been a problem because he stores skins and hides in a small store annexed to his residential house which makes the area very stinky. What action can we take?
DD, Moshi

The Hides, Skins and Leather Trade Act, 2008, (the Act) prohibits a person to use premises for the purpose of shading or suspension drying wet salting or for any other methods of drying hides and skins unless the premise has been approved as suitable for that purpose by an inspector. It is most likely that the businessman is storing hides and skins in an unapproved premise because the inspector wouldn’t approve such a premise in a residential area. Section 12 of the Act states clearly that no premises shall be registered unless an environmental impact assessment has been conducted.

For your case, we advise you to report the matter to the office of the Director responsible for Hides, Skins and Leather Development in the Ministry responsible for livestock development for action. You can also report the matter to the office responsible for environment management in your area.