20 February 2013

Tanzania: Firm Seeks to Attach ATCL Building Over Sh1.2 Billion Debt

A TOUR operating company, Leisure Tours and Holidays Limited, has applied for attachment and sale of an Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) building to recover 716,259.52 US dollars (about 1.2bn/-) debt that has been accruing since 2008.

But, in an order issued by the High Court's Commercial Division on February 11, this year, Judge Robert Makaramba directed the decree holder (Tour operator) to conduct an evaluation of the building situated along Ohio Street in the City Centre of Dar es Salaam, before issuing the order sought.

"The applicant or decree holder to file in this court a valuation report of the ATCL building located along Ohio Street on February 20, 2013. The matter to come for further orders on February 25," reads part of the order. According to the plaint, the debt in question arose from car rental services provided by the tour operator company to ATCL as and when requested and in respect of which invoices rendered to the national flag carrier remained unpaid.

It was alleged that on January 16, 2008, the ATCL admitted an outstanding amount of 313,759 US dollars and made commitment to settle the amount in three instalments from February to April 2008. But later, through a letter, the tour operator adjusted the amount unpaid to 321,016 US dollars.

On March 31, 2008, according to the plaint of the suit, the tour operating company demanded from the ATCL a sum of 367,097 US dollars due to further invoices rendered in the period between January 17 and March 31, 2008, plus interest of two per cent.

But ATCL responded through an e-mail dated March 31, confirming inability to pay the amount. On May 30, 2008, the amount accrued and ATCL acknowledged the outstanding amount of 418,305 US dollars and offered to pay 30,000 US dollars on June 6, 2008 and 5,000 US dollars every week on Friday's thereafter.

The tour operator accepted the ATCL proposal and demanded an interest of 1.5 per cent per month on the outstanding amount. By e-mail, the tour operating company notified ATCL on June 20, 2008 of irregularities in instalments, which it had promised and by February 3, 2009, the amount accrued to 596,382 US dollars.

Leisure Tours and Holidays Limited, thereafter, filed the suit demanding such payments. In course of hearing the matter, the parties reached a settlement and on November 20, last year, the Court directed that the schedule for payment of the claimed amount should be filed in Court after a month later.

Court records show that no such schedule was filed, prompting the tour operator company to file an application for attachment and sale of the ATCL building to recover the debt.

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