19 February 2013

Tanzania: Ex-TCAA Official Seeks Sh1 Billion Compensation

LAWYERS representing former senior official with the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority, Joseph Ngiloi, have asked the Court of Appeal to award their client compensation of 1.092bn/- for premature termination of his employment.

Advocate Mwezi Mhango told a panel comprising Justices Sauda Mjasiri, Salum Massati and Ibrahim Juma that the High Court had erred in awarding inadequate damages of 50m/- after holding that Mr Ngiloi, who was Senior Airworthiness Surveyor Grade One, had reached the retirement age.

"The trial judge recorded in the proceedings that the appellant was aged 53 years and 60 years, at the same time. He then relied on the age of 60 for his judgment. As a result of such a mistake, the judge denied him proper compensation," Mr Mhango, who was assisted by advocate Semu Anney, in arguing the appeal, said.

He, therefore, requested the judges to correct such an error and award the appellant proper compensation from 1999 when he was prematurely retired on purported public interest up to June 2013, when he is required to retire as per the law.

Opposing the appeal, Principal State Attorney Pius Mboya asked the judges to dismiss the case in question with costs for lack of legal merits. He submitted that the aspect of premature retirement was considered by the High Court when assessing damages to be paid to the appellant.

He admitted that there might be a mistake by the trial judge in recording the two ages in the records, but such aspect was not an issue for determination during hearing of the case at the High Court. After hearing the submissions, the judges said they would deliver their judgment on the matter at a later stage and the parties would be accordingly informed.

Mr Ngiloi lodged an appeal, asking the Appellate Court to quash the decision of August 13, 2008, given by then High Court Judge, William Mandia, who had awarded him 50m/- damages alone instead of 1.092bn/-he had demanded.

Judge Mandia had declared the retirement by Mr Ngiloi null and void because the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the then Ministry of Communication and Transport had no powers to terminate him as he was a presidential appointee. Mr Ngiloi was appointed by the president on June 1, 1987 to the post of Senior Airworthiness Surveyor Grade One in the Directorate of Civil Aviation with the then Ministry of Communication and Transport.

Following satisfactory performance, the president confirmed him on January 21, 1992. He later underwent training on Aircraft Engineering in India, Europe, United States, Holland and Ethiopia and was the most trained in the field. Surprisingly, on June 29, 1999, he was unlawfully and prematurely retired purportedly in the public interest.

According to him, such retirement was flawed as it disregarded the principle of first in, last out, lacked transparency, openness and competitiveness and that the government did not take into consideration that he was the most qualified engineer within the authority.

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