Garnishee order in Tanzania (meaning and procedures)

Here I will share with you everything you need to know about garnishee order in Tanzania alternately known as garnishee proceedings.

I will cover;

  • meaning of garnishee
  • how does Garnshee work
  • procedure in garnshee procedeengs
  • etc.

Let’s get started

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What is a garnishee order?

In law, a garnishee refers to a third party who is ordered by a court to hold or surrender money, property, or assets belonging to a debtor (the person who owes a debt) to satisfy a creditor’s claim.

This legal process is typically initiated when a creditor obtains a court order, known as a garnishment order or garnishee order, against a debtor who has failed to fulfill a debt obligation.

A garnishee order is a legal directive issued by a court requiring a third party, known as the garnishee, to withhold or surrender money, assets, or property belonging to a debtor to satisfy a creditor’s claim.

The garnishee can be an individual, a business, a bank, or any entity that holds assets or money belonging to the debtor.

When served with a garnishment order, the garnishee is legally obligated to comply with the court’s directive, which may involve freezing the debtor’s bank account, withholding a portion of the debtor’s wages, or transferring property or assets to the creditor to satisfy the debt.

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For example;

Let’s say John owes a debt of $5,000 to ABC Bank for an unpaid credit card bill. Despite multiple reminders and notices from the bank, John has failed to repay the debt. As a result, ABC Bank decided to take legal action to recover the money owed.

ABC Bank files a lawsuit against John and obtains a judgment in its favor from the court, ordering John to pay the $5,000 debt plus any associated legal fees and interest. However, John still does not pay the debt as ordered by the court.

In order to collect the debt, ABC Bank requests a garnishee order from the court. The court grants the garnishee order, directing John’s employer (the garnishee) to withhold a portion of John’s wages each pay period and send it directly to ABC Bank until the debt is fully satisfied.

Upon receiving the garnishee order, John’s employer is legally obligated to comply with the court’s directive. They began deducting the specified amount from John’s wages and forwarding it to ABC Bank as instructed.

In this example:

  • John is the debtor who owes the debt to ABC Bank.
  • ABC Bank is the creditor seeking to collect the debt.
  • John’s employer is the garnishee ordered by the court to withhold a portion of John’s wages and send it to ABC Bank.

Through the garnishee proceedings, ABC Bank can recover the money owed to them directly from John’s wages, providing a means for debt collection when other methods have failed.

What does the court say about garnishee proceedings?

Nangela J, In the case of St. John University of Tanzania vs Jeffery Industries Saini Ltd and 1 Other (Misc. Commercial Application 64 of 2021) [2021] TZHCComD 3239 (3 June 2021) stated that;

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It is customary that a person who receive a judgment in its favor will likely take steps to enforce that judgment in court, especially when the other party fails to comply wth its term. In money judgement, such monetary debt can be realize by way of garneshee proceedings.

Greshee proceedings are a form of judgment enforcement involving money-related matters.

It involves a special procedure invoked to complete the third party (for instance Bank)who is in the position of asset of the judgment debtor to forfeit the sai asset to the judgment creditor to the tune of the debt in question

Garnishee proceeding in Tanzania

The garnishee proceedings are applicable in Tanzania based on common law procedure in terms of section 2 of Judicature and Application of Laws Act Cap. 358 R.E. 2019.

It is worth noting that, garnishee proceedings fall under the execution of the decree process

The following are the procedures

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My aim here was to share with you everything you need to know about garnishee order in Tanzania.

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