Court name
High Court of Tanzania

Angela Mpanduji vs Ancilla Kilinda () [1985] TZHC 12 (11 May 1985);

Law report citations
1985 TLR 16 (TZHC)
Media neutral citation
[1985] TZHC 12

Bahati, J.:  This is a suit for damages for slander.  The plaintiff in her plaint avers that the defendant falsely and maliciously spoke and published of the plaintiff to members of the Tanzania Police Force, F and members of the Executive Committee of the Institute of Finance Management Council as well as members of a Probe Committee appointed by the said Executive Committee the following words:
   .... Accountancy and Costing Examination Questions were sold to me by Angela for Shs.1000/=.  The sale took place at a Bus Stop near Urafiki Ubungo in the morning. G
By reason of the said words the plaintiff has been injured gravely in her character, credit and reputation and has been brought into public scandal, odium and contempt and has suffered damage. H
In consequence of the said words the Institute of Finance Management terminated the plaintiff's studies at the said Institute and barred her from attempting any Institute of Finance Management examinations in future and further nullified the results the plaintiff had achieved in April, 1984 examination.  Also the National Development I Corporation the plaintiff's employer withdrew its training award to the plaintiff and terminated the services of the plaintiff.  The plaintiff therefore claims general damages

from the defendant in excess of Shs.200,000/= on the basis of aggravated damages as the plaintiff demanded an A apology and reasonable compensation from the defendant but the demand was ignored.
This case proceeded ex-parte because the defendant failed to file her written statement of defence as ordered by B the court.  In her evidence in court the plaintiff  averred that she was a student at the Institute of Finance Management hereinafter referred to as IFM.  She was dismissed from IFM after she was called and told by the IFM authorities that she had sold examination papers.  She was taken to the Police Station in connection with this C allegation of selling examination papers.  She was also taken to a panel of investigators appointed by IFM Management.  She denied throughout to have sold any examination papers to anybody.  She also appeared before a probe Committee and again she denied selling any papers to anybody.  All the same she was dismissed D by letter dated 2nd May, 1984.  When she got the Police report, the report had the name of the person who had alleged to have bought the papers from the plaintiff.  The name was that of the defendant namely Ancilla Kilinda.  The Police report, moreover, exonerated the plaintiff.  All the same she was dismissed even from the E National Development Corporation (N.D.C.), her employer.  After that the plaintiff stayed for 4 months without a job before she eventually got employed with the Co-operative Union of Tanganyika as an accounts clerk whereas she would have been employed as an accountant if she had completed her course at the IFM.  The plaintiff felt very depressed and disturbed mentally because of all these occurrences and she resorted to the law F courts through a lawyer in order to get whatever rights she had.  As a result of this episode she was shunned by all her friends, she lost her job and missed her certificate and encountered a variety of other problems.  She was therefore praying for damages to the tune of at least 500,000/=.
In his submission at the end of this case Mr. Uzanda,  learned counsel for the plaintiff said that the defendant had G slandered the plaintiff and that this slander was actionable per se without proof special damages because the words complained of impute a crime for which the plaintiff could be prosecuted and that the words had damaged H the plaintiff in her profession.  He submitted further that the plaintiff was entitled to exemplary damages for this slander.  The plaintiff, Mr. Uzanda submitted, could recover substantial damages because she has suffered considerable injury to her reputation and because the slander led to her dismissal from IFM and N.D.C. and that the allegations received very wide publicity in the press and on the radio.  Further more, Mr. Uzanda said that this slander has been aggravated by the conduct of the defendant who has shown no I

contrition nor has the defendant apologized.  The plaintiff had asked for an apology and nominal damages from A the defendant but the defendant has done nothing of the sort.  Nor did the defendant bother even to file a written statement of defence.
There is no doubt that this slander is actionable per se because it imputes the commission of a crime and also B because it has damaged the profession of the plaintiff.  There is no doubt from the evidence given that the defamatory words were uttered by the defendant and that the slander has caused the plaintiff to suffer damage in her profession as well as in her reputation. For the defendant to allege that the plaintiff sold her examination C papers is certainly to defame her exposing her to prosecution by the Police.  Similarly for the plaintiff to lose her certificate in advanced diploma in Accounting and also to suffer dismissal from the course and her employment is to suffer damage.  Mr. Uzanda for the plaintiff contends that exemplary damages should be awarded.  Jowitt's Dictionary of English Law Second Edition defines exemplary damages as follows: D
   .... exemplary, or punitive or vindictive damages are damages given not merely as pecuniary compensation for the loss E actually sustained by the plaintiff, but also as a kind of punishment of the defendant, with the view of discouraging similar wrongs in future, as in actions for defamation, malicious injuries, oppression, continuing nuisances, etc.
I shall now consider first whether there is any defence available for the defendant in this case.  I can see none. F There is no defence to this suit unless the defendant can prove that her allegations are true.  This she has not done.  The evidence has shown clearly that it was the defendant who slandered the plaintiff and that the Police investigated the matter and found the allegations false.  There cannot be any defence of either qualified privilege G or absolute privilege here.
Now, as for exemplary damages, I am of the opinion that they should be awarded here.  I am fortified in this view by the court of Appeal Case of Davies v Mohanlal Karamshi Shah [1957] E.A. 352.  Where it was held H inter alia that "punitive or exemplary damages are, as their names imply, damages by way of punishment or deterrent.  They are given entirely without reference to any proved actual loss suffered by the plaintiff".  In that Court of Appeal case, the plaintiff was a Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court at Mombasa who had had libels I published of him by the defendant which contained serious allegations of dishonestly, wilful misconduct in the course of his official duties, and professional misconduct.

The libels were published to the Chief Justice of Kenya, the Attorney General, a Judge at Mombasa etc.  The A Court of Appeal for East Africa awarded him Shs.10,000/= as damages.  In this case the plaintiff is asking for at least Shs.500,000/= as damages since she has lost her job and has suffered disgrace and mental torture besides B suffering financially and being rendered incapable of obtaining qualifications as an accountant and also being forced to work as a mere accounts clerk.  Considering all these factors in their totality, I agree that the plaintiff is certainly entitled to substantial and exemplary damages.  I would award her Shs.150,000/=  as damages. C
I therefore enter judgment for the plaintiff in the sum of Shs.150,000/= with costs as prayed in the plaint.
Judgment for the plaintiff.

D