THE High Court allowed five mobile phone service provider companies to be joined in the constitutional case lodged by Tanzania Consumers Advocacy Society (TCAS), to challenge the law requiring monthly deductions of 1,000/-from each telecommunication consumer.
A panel of judges of the court ruled in favour of the companies, Vodacom Tanzania Limited, Airtel Tanzania Limited, MIC Tanzania Limited, Zanzibar Telecommunications Limited and Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited, after dismissing the objection raised by Attorney General (AG).
"We overrule the preliminary objection and hereby order the applicants (five companies) be added in the petition as prayed," Judges Aloycius Mujulizi, Lawrence Kaduri and Salvatory Bongole ruled.
In the main petition, the TCAS is challenging the 2013 Finance Act, requiring each citizen to pay 1,000/- per month for air services. The petitioner alleges that the law in question is unconstitutional. The respondents in the matter are AG and Minister for Finance.
Following the court's ruling, the judges adjourned the matter to October 21, for hearing of an application for injunction on the implementation of the law being challenged. The judges agreed with the submissions by counsel for the companies that the objection raised was inherent fraud and was made on misconception of facts.
During the hearing of the objection, the AG was represented by George Masaju, the Deputy AG and three Principal State Attorney Edson Mweyunge, Sara Mwaipopo and Alisia Mbuya, while advocates Fatma Karume, Rason Mbwambo and Beatus Malima were for the companies.
Mr Mweyunge, on behalf of others, had asked the High Court to dismiss the application lodged by the five companies, because the person who had filed an affidavit to support the same lacked locus to do so on their behalf. He had submitted that the law requires any application filed in court must be supported by an affidavit.
He told the court that the principle of law states that when one represents others in court, has to seek leave of the court or obtain authority from the persons he seeks to represent. In response, however, Advocate Karume told the court that Mr Tumaini Shija as the deponent of the affidavit, did not file the application, but the matter was brought by the five companies.
Such deponent, she submitted was just a witness in the matter. According to her, the requirement for the deponent to obtain an authority from the five companies to swear an affidavit on their behalf was a question of evidence which required proof, thus such aspect could not be raised as an objection that bases on pure points of law.