12 February 2013

Tanzania: HESLB Sues 18 Loan Defaulters

IN a move aimed at forcing students loan beneficiaries to repay their respective due amounts, the Higher Education Students' Loan Board (HESLB) has sued 18 alleged defaulters, demanding over sh148 million.

The suit has been filed at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam. Senior Resident Magistrate Frank Moshi has been assigned to preside over the case.

In the suit, the HESLB is asking the court to order the defendants (loan defaulters) to pay a total of 135,132,275/- being principal amount and 13,513,227/- as penalty of ten per cent of the claimed principal amount.

The plaintiff claims from the defendants such amount of money that had been advanced to them in terms of loans by the government to pursue higher education. Furthermore, the HESLB seeks orders from the court requiring each of the defendants to pay general damages as may be assessed by the court and that they should pay the costs of the suit.

Defendants in the suit are higher education students' loans beneficiaries who received the loans from the government of Tanzania between 1994 and 2009. They are Adamson Koreshi, Aly Mwenda, Anna Lyimo, Asma Turrango, Catherine Mhina, Clement Kihamia, Doreen Lyatuu, Farida Zuku, Felix Mosha, Flora Peter, Frank Lugola, Herriath Mazengo, Happiness Saria, Hollo Ngeme and Mwanahamis Aboud.

The rest include Ndebemeye Philipo, Ndeni Anande and Turphina Matereke. Court records show that the defendants had signed agreement with the government that loans should be repaid within the prescribed agreed time.

Section 19 of the Higher Education Students' Board Act of 2004 and its regulations require every student loan beneficiary, upon successful or unsuccessful completion of his or her studies to repay the loan to the government through the board.

According to the plaint of the suit, the Board has been entrusted by the law under the HELSB Act, to administer and supervise the process of granting, repayment and recovery of loans issued by the government to students pursuing their higher education since July 1994.

The defendants were reminded through the media to repay their debts within the prescribed time, but they remained defiant. Last month, the Board requested the Immigration Department in the Ministry of Home Affairs to reject any application for visas and passports to citizens, who have defaulted to repay their loans dues.

The HESLB Executive Director, Mr George Nyatega, had told the 'Daily News' that the Immigration Department assured the Board that it would work on the request and would soon send the names of loan defaulters to all border posts, including airports.

He said such move was one of means of forcing loan defaulters to repay their dues. According to him, the Immigration Department had requested and subsequently given the data base of names of defaulters so that they can dispatch them to border posts.

Mr Nyatega said the Board would take legal action against all those who did not comply with the requirements of the notice dated January 19, 2012, in respect of furnishing information regarding their whereabouts that would facilitate repayment of their loans.

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