Tanzania: Workers Compensation Fund Starts to 'Spit Fire

THE Workers Compensation Fund (WCF) has started taking to court employers who are violating laws under which it was established, including failure to register and furnish particulars of company businesses and supply necessary information of their employees to authorised persons.

Before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday, seven managing directors of four different companies operating in Tanzania became the victims of circumstances.

They are Malakkara Semis and Shafeek Purayil, who are Managing Directors of Spash International Co. Ltd. Other employees, with their companies in brackets, are Abshir Gure and Farhiya Warsame (Lasar Logistic Limited), Joseph Kabati (Kamanda Security Guards Co. Limited) and Riziki Shemdo and Desudedit Kibassa (ENCC Consiultants).

This is the first case to be filed in court against employers for allegedly violating the Workers Compensation Act, which established the Fund in 2008. Whoever is convicted of violating the laws under the Act is liable to a fine not exceeding 50m/- or imprisonment of a term not exceeding five years, or both.

The prosecution, led by Principal State Attorney Emily Kiria and Senior State Attorneys Emma Msoffe, Mukabatunzi Dereck and Benson Mangowi, however, read out charges against Shafeek Purayil, Abshir Gure and Joseph Kabati alone before Senior Resident Magistrate Victoria Nongwa. All accused persons who attended the session denied the charges. The rest of the employers were not present because they did not respond to the summons dispatched to them for various reasons. The magistrate adjourned their cases to February 22.

The employers are charged with two counts each of failure to register and furnish particulars of company businesses to the Director General of the WCF and failure to supply necessary information to the same authorised authority, notably names and salaries of employees. Malakkara Semis is alleged to have committed the two offences on September 25, 2017 and September 6, 2017, respectively, while Kabati, according to the prosecution, committed the offences on January 26, 2018 and January 11, 2018, respectively. The prosecution charges Abshir Gure of committing the two offences on November 2, 2017 and October 19, 2017, respectively.

He was charged with an additional third count of failure to furnish necessary information of his employee, Lihakambo Yunus, to the WCF boss. The information related to the employee's identity card, national identity card or voters card, driving licence, employment contract, salary slip, among others. The magistrate granted bail to the accused persons on condition of having two sureties each, who were to sign a bond of 50m/- each.

The Workers Compensation Fund is a social security scheme established under the Workers Compensation Act No. 20 of 2008. It was established to provide compensation for employees injured or incapacitated in the course of employment. Under the Act, the Fund is responsible for compensating workers who suffer occupational injuries or contract occupational diseases arising out of and in the course of their employment.

In case of death of workers, the Fund is responsible for compensating dependants as per set criteria. The Act applies to all employers and employees from both the private and government sector in Mainland Tanzania, and employees who ordinarily work outside Mainland Tanzania but have been stationed in Tanzania for more than 12 months.

It is stated under the Act that all employers are required to contribute to the WCF. All private sector employers must now contribute one per cent and public sector employers must contribute 0.5 per cent of their annual tax bill for one year from 1 July 2015. Contributions are due on a monthly basis.

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