Tanzania: Detained in Police Station for Traffic Offence

I was stopped by police officers who shockingly did an alcohol test on me. The results were positive and I got arrested and spent the night in police custody. Can they arrest me for this offence? Could they just not have fined me and let me go? Is this legal? TT, Dar

The Road Traffic Act states that any person required to provide a specimen of blood for a laboratory test pursuant to the provisions of this Act may thereafter be detained at a police station until it appears to a police officer that the proportion of alcohol in the person's blood does not exceed the prescribed limit. For the purposes of this Act, the expression "prescribed limit" means eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood. You can see that your arrest was legal to also protect you.

There is nothing shocking about alcohol tests - they are now quite common in Dar.

Private ruling with wrong assumptions

To be sure that our project does not get into trouble in the future, we applied for a private ruling with the TRA. I provided all the details and a private ruling was issued. In the ruling, the TRA has inserted assumptions that are not only unrealistic but not relevant. I find it hard to understand what the ruling says although it seems to agree with our analysis. What should we do? My tax consultant says since it seems to be in our favour, we should start the project, as TRA is not predictable and may end up drastically altering the ruling if we go back to them. Please guide. HG, Moshi

We are as confused with your question as you are with the TRAs ruling. On one hand you say there is a ruling that has certain inserted assumptions that are not relevant; on the other hand you say it agrees with your analysis. Unless we see it, we are unable to answer in the affirmative or negative.

Having said that, regulation 28 of the Tax Administration (General) Regulations 2016 states that (1) Where the Commissioner General considers that the correctness of a private or class ruling would depend on an assumption to be made on a future event or other matters, the Commissioner General may - (a) make the assumptions he considers to be the most appropriate; or (b) decline to make the ruling.

Furthermore, subsection (2) the Commissioner General may not make assumptions on information which the applicant can provide. Predictability and transparency are some of the key pillars that large companies require and we suggest that you contact the TRA for clarification, and get a properly worded tax ruling so that it does not cause any interpretation issues in the future.

Award for costs in case very low

I am a Tanzanian businessman. In 2009 I successfully defended a suit that my customer had instituted against me in the Resident Magistrate's Court at Kisutu on allegations of breach of contract. The Court awarded me costs of the suit but and with great disappointment I have been awarded very minimal costs compared to the amount I spent defending the suit which includes transport, taxis, food, entertainment and accommodation including other costs for my witnesses. I feel that the Court has not been fair to me. What should I do? TY, Sumbawanga

Taxation is the legal term given to the process of the Court of assessing the costs that the successful litigant incurs in prosecuting the suit. Taxing master, normally the registrar or deputy registrar or the resident magistrate in charge in case of the lower Courts, is the officer of the Court responsible for taxation.

The whole process starts by the successful litigant, if awarded costs, presenting in Court a list of costs in a tabulation form commonly known as bill of costs, of amounts he or she has spent in prosecuting the suit. This should be done in a time not exceeding 60 days from the date of judgment.

Only necessary costs are entertained by the Court. Costs as to entertainment of your lawyer or witnesses are not accepted. The bill of costs has to normally be supported by receipts and vouchers for all disbursements together with any documents, drafts or copies thereof to be relied upon during taxation and must be reasonable.

What is reasonable depends on the judicial discretion of the taxing master who after considering the facts, complexity, public importance amongst other surrounding circumstances of the case at the trial, decides on what figure the bill of costs should be taxed at.

Unless the taxing master erred in these principles in which case the aggrieved party can refer the matter to a Judge of the High Court, the decision of the taxing master on the quantum is final Coming to your question, we are not in a position to default the taxing master for lack of sufficient facts.

We do not have details of the bill of costs you presented in Court nor do we have a copy of the taxing master's ruling. However should you think that the taxing master erred in principles pertaining to assessment of costs, we advise you to refer the matter to the Judge.

Reference to the Judge is made by way of Chamber Application supported by an affidavit within 21 days after issuance of the certified copy of the taxing master's decision.

In case you are out of time, you can apply for enlargement of time upon showing good cause for such delay.

Factory owners colluding in price

There are certain factories owned by some big shot owners that have developed monopolistic behavior. They have colluded to fix prices of the product and are creating an artificial shortage. There are all signs of practices that are anti competitive. Is there a law that can protect consumers in such a scenario? JL, Dar

The Fair Competition Act comes to protect you. This act established the Fair Competition Commission (FCC) which oversees such activities and protects the interests of consumers. The Act has under it the Fair Competition Rules.

Under the said rules there are provisions on how complaints are handled. As a consumer you can complain by submitting information to the FCC in any manner, or complaining using a standard form that the FCC Rules provide.

Thereafter the investigation department of the FCC will investigate the complaint in view of determining if those against whom you have complained against have a case to answer or not.

The Commission can use its discretion whether to entertain your complaint or not and if not entertained reasons must be provided. We suggest that you take the route above and fight for your rights through the FCC.

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