Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

4 February 2013

Tanzania: China Picks Contractor for Dar es Salaam Port Expansion Works

THE Chinese Government has recommended that Chinese Harbour Engineering Construction Company (CHEC) undertake the expansion of Dar es Salaam Port.

The move has put to rest a legal battle between Tanzania and another Chinese company. Previously, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) Limited was awarded the tender to undertake the project, before the tender was revoked by the government of Tanzania, prompting CCCC to take the matter to court.

The 'Daily News' has established that CCCC Limited has finally decided not to take part in the project and to withdraw its case before the High Court. The project came under Parliament scrutiny last year, contributing to the removal of the former Minister for Transport, Mr Omari Nundu, and his deputy, Mr Athumani Mfutakamba, from the Cabinet.

"The Chinese Embassy has proposed a suitable company to undertake the assignment," a Counsel for the CCCC, Ms Anna Marealle, told the 'Daily News' in Dar es Salaam shortly after Judge Agnes Bukuku, granted her application for the withdrawal of the case. She named the company as Chinese Harbour Engineering Construction Company (CHEC) Limited.

According to her, the company has been proposed to undertake the construction works, following a concession reached at a high level meeting between the government and other stakeholders. "Our clients (CCCC) have agreed that they are not qualified to undertake the project.

We found that proceeding with the case will not serve the interest of the nation and the project itself," the counsel told the court, when applying for the withdrawal of the case. The CCCC had gone to seek court's redress, contesting the decision by the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) to award the tender for expansion works at the port to another company.

The respondents in the case were the TPA and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport. Advocate Peter Kibatala, for the TPA, could not object to the withdrawal of the case, but requested the Court to grant his clients costs following the substantial work that has been done before the request for the withdrawal of the matter was made. "It is a question of logic.

The (TPA) was brought to court by the applicant (CCCC). I come from private law firm and legal fees have been paid. Counter affidavit to the application and notice of objection have been filed. We strongly object to any waiver of costs," he submitted.

But in her brief ruling, Judge Bukuku granted the request for the withdrawal of the case by the CCCC and the notice of objection raised by TPA, but declined to award costs to the latter, saying that "each party will bear its costs." In its application filed before the court on December 28, last year, the CCCC had sought orders restraining the TPA from calling for the tenders and, or awarding of the contract for Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) of berth number 13 and 14 at the port.

The application was filed under certificate of urgency on grounds that the TPA may call for new tenders and award the commercial contract to other firms other than the Chinese Construction Company in total prejudice of its rights and interests.

It claimed to have incurred some costs during the preparations, including carrying out a study covering technical details, financial requirements and legal framework within which the project was to be implemented and had allegedly invested 523,131,015.97 US dollars.

But for undisclosed reasons, the TPA expressed its intention to terminate the contract and was in the process of appointing another contractor to execute the said expansion works, purportedly acting under directions of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority.

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