The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network

BRELA now works to puff out Smoke Screen Companies

Tanzania is setting up a special national register to document the identified owners of all business operations.

The steps are being taken in order to address notorious issues of firms or companies operating like smoke screens that are concealing dubious, illegal and sometimes criminal activities behind the scenes.

The Business Registrations and Licensing Agency (BRELA) is convening a series of meetings with competent authorities as well as law enforcers in the ongoing operations to ensure all entities in the country adhere to their registered activities.

Speaking in Arusha. BRELA officials reveal that the aim is to create a seamless network of official information portal about local firms.

This apparently is to help keep the local companies as well as their international associates closely monitored to ensure they adhere to laws and regulations.

Isidori Paul Mkindi is the head of companies’ registration department at BRELA.

“While most companies are genuine, we cannot ignore the fact that a few firms could be operating behind a façade yet being busy with illegal rackets such as human trafficking, money laundering, narcotics or even smuggling,” Mkindi explains.

Being a worldwide problem, Tanzania is simply complying with other international communities to address the issue of scrupulous firms hoarding illegal dealings in the backrooms of their otherwise legal looking front offices.

“But this is also beneficial to registered companies, once their partners or potential investors want to deal with local firms, they normally ask for information about them and once they find them clean, it gets easy to hatch business dealings with them,” adds Mkindi.

And in order to accomplish the mission BRELA is working with other state organs to ensure that all firms operate as per their officially listed mandates.

Eliaimenyi Njiro, a legal officer from the state attorney’s office says the BRELA workshop on beneficiary ownership is an important platform.

She believes that it is where all state organs get to learn how to deal with any situation related to firms that go against their registered activities.

“The State Attorney office is responsible for conducting investigations whenever such situations arise, it is thus important for us to learn more about company registrations, trademarks, partnership their tax returns and if they have international links,” she explained.

One her part, Beatrice Gideon an Inspector from the Regional Immigration Office who was also present said her office relies on information from BRELA.

“This is when processing residential or working permits of foreigners coming to work or do business in Tanzania thus the idea of having a national register with all relevant information is appreciated,” she says.

It also came up during the workshop that some who are always seen at the forefront in a number of business operations their names hardly appear in the firms’ memorandums of association.

That means they could either be stooges or used faked identities to register their companies.

The Competent authorities attending the BRELA workshops on the subject include Police Officers, representatives from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), the State Attorney Office and personnel from the Prevention and Combating Corruption Bureau.

Next BRELA also gets to meet with practicing Lawyers through their Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) Arusha Chapter, and business owners through their Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA).

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