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Tobacco Commission takes new law to judges

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The Tobacco Commission (TC) is engaging judges in the country, sensitising them on the newly enacted Tobacco Industry Act, 2019.

On Friday the commission interacted with Redson Kapindu, Judge of the High Court-Zomba Registry, who is also Chairperson of the Judiciary Training Commission and Judge Thomson Ligowe of Mzuzu High Court.

TC Acting Director of Technical Services, Hellings Nason, said the platform is also an opportunity as it is taken as a feedback mechanism on how the judges view the Act, in terms of its contents and legal language among others.

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“The commission felt it is very important to sensitise the judges of this Act. We did not want to take it for granted that because they are learned then they are already familiar with the Act,” Nason said.

In his remarks Kapindu said whenever a law is new people are on a learning curve hence, constant engagements are vital.

“On behalf of the judiciary, I should express gratitude to the Tobacco Commission for organising this workshop. Generally it is a good Act but I would not go into details. From what we have discussed today, it is also apparent that there are some areas that need further refinement and clarification, but it’s here and there,” he said.

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Among others, the law puts it that a person shall not buy tobacco unless he is licenced as buyer by the Minister of Agriculture.

“Contravention of any of the provisions of this part, commits an offence and shall on conviction, be liable to a fine of K10, 000,000 and to imprisonment for five years,” reads part of the Act.

Further, the new law stipulates that “where a grower willfully produces excess tobacco in contravention of his production quota or the contractual agreement with his buyer, as the case may be, the [Tobacco] Commission shall uplift the grower’s production quota and collect three quarters of the proceeds of the excess tobacco and remit the remaining one quarter to the grower”.

The law says three quarters of the proceeds collected by the TC shall be put together with other fines collected by the TC for the development of the tobacco industry.

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