3 January 2013

Tanzania: Chinese Firm to Pay Businessman Sh500 Million

THE Court of Appeal has ordered a Chinese Construction Company, China Henan International Co-operation (CHICO) Group Company Limited, to pay 500m/- damages to businessman Salvand Rwegasira for illegally excavating road construction materials from his area.

Justices Nathalia Kimaro, Salum Massati and Kipenka Mussa reached the decision after dismissing some grounds of appeal lodged by CHICO, challenging a decision of the High Court against the payment. "We find that in substance, the appeal has no merit," the justices ruled.

They added, "In the circumstances of this case, we think the amount of 500m/- would do as damages and it is so assessed." In the first instance proceedings, the High Court had ordered the construction company to pay the businessman 974m/-, but the judges on appeal found such an award was not strictly proved.

However, the panel ruled it was fundamental legal principle in the administration of justice that there is no wrong without a remedy. "There is no doubt that some wrong was committed to (the businessman). So he cannot be left without remedy. We think that justice of the case demands that we give him some relief," appeal judges said.

During hearing the appeal, Advocate Paschal Kamala represented the businessman, while Counsel Wilson Ogunde appeared for the Chinese Company. CHICO was awarded a tender by TanRoads to construct Mtukula-Muhutwe Road in Kagera Region in 2001.

For execution of these works, CHICO needed construction materials. During the bidding process, CHICO received, among others, tender documents, a material report which identified the type, quality and site from which suitable materials could be obtained. CHICO believed that this area was offered by the government for it to excavate construction materials.

When the company began to collect the materials, the businessman showed up and claimed that the area was legally his. In October 2003, Rwegasira filed a suit in the High Court at Bukoba Registry, claiming for compensation of 1,374,600,000/- and 10m/- by way of general damages and some other ancillary reliefs.

After a full hearing, Justice Bernard Luanda, on December 7, 2004, entered a judgment in favour of the businessman and awarded him the 974m/- damages. Aggrieved by the decision, CHICO rushed to the Court of Appeal to oppose the decision.

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