What To Do Before Importing, Distributing, Selling, Installing and Operating Electronic Equipment in Tanzania.
March 15, 2022

With the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the rapid growth of the digital world, importation, installation and operation of electronic equipment such as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), SIM BOX to mention but few is inevitable. Although there is a massive importation, installation and operation of these electronic equipment, importers and users are unaware of the underlying legal compliance framework. Consequently, they often found themselves in the courtroom charged with various non-compliance offences which normally graduates into economic offences.

On the basis of the foregoing premise, we find it prudent to highlight the key legal issues which importers, distributers and users should consider during importation, distribution, selling, installation and operation of electronic equipment; –

  • No importation without a license: According to section 116(3) (c) of the Electronic and Postal Communication Act, 2010, any person who import electronic equipment must obtain the license to do so from Tanzania Communication and Regulatory Authority (TCRA). It is a punishable offence to import that equipment without a licence. If convicted one is liable to pay fine of not less than 5,000,000/= (five million) Tanzanian shillings or imprisonment for a term not less than 12 (twelve) months or to both.
  • No distribution or sale without a licence: A person who is distributing or selling electronic equipment is required to obtain a licence to that effect. Distributing or selling this equipment without a licence is a punishable offence under section 116(3) (c) of the Electronic and Postal Communication Act, 2010.  If convicted, one is liable to pay a fine of not less than 5,000,000/= (five million) Tanzanian shillings or imprisonment for a term not less than 12 (twelve months) or to both.
  • No installation without a licence: Similarly, installation of the electronic equipment requires a licence. Installation of electronic equipment without a licence is an offence under section 116(3) (c) of the Electronic and Postal Communication Act, 2010. If convicted, one is liable to pay a fine of not less than 5,000,000 /= (five million) Tanzanian shillings or imprisonment for a term not less than 12 (twelve) months or both.
  • Equipment approval before use: Any equipment to be used for connection to any electronic communications network for the purpose of receiving and, or transmitting electronic communication signals must obtain a prior approval of the Tanzania Communication and Regulatory Authority (TCRA). This is according to section 83(1) of the Electronic and Postal Communications Act, 2010. Failure to do so is an offence as provided under section 152(1) of the Electronic and Postal Communications Act, 2010.If convicted one is liable to pay a fine of not less than 5,000,000/= (five million) Tanzanian shillings or to imprisonment term not less than 12 (twelve) months or both.

It is therefore, very important for the importers, distributers and users to observe the mandatory legal requirements in order to avoid landing into trouble with the law enforcers.  Technically, the above offences may result into other subsequent and associated serious offences such as: –

  • Leading organized crime; Since the equipment are not manufactured in Tanzania, the law presupposes an existence of the organized scheme to transport, install and operate such equipment without a license. The offence of leading organized crime is provided under paragraph (1) (a) of the First Schedule to the Economic and Organized Crime Control Act, , [Cap.200 R.E 2019] read together with sections 57(1) and 60(2) of the same Act.
  • Fraudulent use of network facilities; This is provided under section 122(a) of the Electronic and Postal Communications Act, 2010 read together with Regulations 7(1) (2(a) & (b) of the Electronic and Postal Communications (Telecommunications Traffic Monitoring System) Regulations, 2013. Taking into account the fact that importation, distribution, sell or installation of the equipment was illegal, .it follows thereafter that their uses are fraudulent and illegal contrary to the aforesaid provisions.
  • Occasioning loss to a specified authority; This is contrary to paragraph 10(10 of the First Schedule to the Economic and Organized Crime Control Act, [Cap.200 R.E 2002]. Since no license was issued and consequently no Government fees or charges were paid as a result of importation, distribution, sell or installation of those equipment, the importer, distributor, seller or installer is deemed to have occasioned loss to the specified authority, to wit, Tanzania Communications and Regulatory Authority (TCRA).

In view of the foregoing, it suffices to state at this end that demand of massive electronic equipment should not be taken for granted. There are number of legal requirements which must be satisfied. As stated earlier above, trivial omission may subject individual into serious offences including economic offences.

Operation, importation and installation of electronic devices and machinery is a complex and technical process area which needs the highest expertise and diligence. Victory Attorneys & Consultants are experts on ICT laws and regulations. We have guided various clients on, ICT, Telecommunication and Electronic

Victory Attorneys & Consultants © 2022

Augustine Dominic Shio

Managing Partner

Augustine Dominic Shio is also known as Mr Shio is a highly sought-after and widely recognized criminal law expert with more than 30 years of experience advising and assisting corporations and individuals charged with white-collar crimes.

Overview

Before founding the firm Mr Shio held several positions in the public sector, he served as a Principal State Attorney at the Attorney General’s Chambers, Legal Advisor at the President’s Office (Commission for Enforcement of the Leadership Code), Director of Legal Services and Complaints at the Ministry of Home Affairs and retired as a Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions at the Directorate of the Public Prosecutions.

Mr Shio is a recipient of the Presidential Medal for his distinctive public services and ethics of the highest order. His distinguished aptitude in handling complex criminal cases, particularly money laundering, economic and organized crimes has enabled the firm to handle high profile criminal cases in Tanzania.

Practice Focus

As the firm’s head of the Financial & Organized Crimes Department, Mr Shio represents corporations and individuals in the telecoms, media & ICT, mining, oil & gas and banking sectors in high profile criminal cases. He has advised and prepared legal compliance models and for large scale agribusiness operators, public listed companies and securities dealers and brokers in line with sector-specific laws.

He possesses vast experience in advising multinational corporations on money laundering and tax evasion throughout the life span of their commercial transactions.

Mr Shio has represented clients in major plea bargaining negotiations at the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. He is renowned for closing some of the best pleas deals in the country on behalf of many locals and expatriates charged with money laundering, economic and organized crimes and cybercrimes. Additionally, Mr Shio consults and assists criminally charged individuals to secure pre-trail and post-trial bail on serious criminal charges.

Education

Mr Shio holds a Bachelor’s Degree (LL.B Hons) from the University of Dar es Salaam, Certificate in Criminal Justice and Treatment of Offenders from the United Nations Institute (Fuchu, Japan). He is a certified criminal law expert in Money Laundering and Terrorism.

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