THE dispute involving the Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) building has taken a new twist after the management of the company obstructed the evaluation process to determine its value before being sold to recover a 1.2bn debt.
Documents show that the High Court's Commercial Division had ordered Leisure Tours and Holidays Limited, a tour operator company, to submit the valuation report before issuing orders for attachment and sale of the building, but the exercise was not carried out because of the obstruction.
Following this action, counsel for the tour company, Mr Jerome Msemwa, wrote to the Registrar of the Court to air his concern to the trial judge, Robert Makaramba, for necessary orders when the case would be mentioned on February 25, this year.
"This is to notify you that the evaluations exercise as ordered by the Court on February 11, 2013 did not take place because the judgment debtor (ATCL) has refused entry to valuers," reads part of the letter dated February 19, 2013, written by Msemwa and Company Advocates.
The tour operating company had applied for attachment and sale of the ATCL building located along Ohio Street in Dar es Salaam City centre to recover their debt amounting to 716,259.52 US dollars, but Judge Makaramba directed an evaluation should be conducted first.
Following the directive, Leisure Tours and Holidays Limited instructed valuers, Let Consultants Limited to carry out the exercise and they accordingly reported officially at the building for the assignment on February 18 and 19 this year for inspection and subsequent preparation of their report.
"Unfortunately, the valuers spent those two days at the ATCL offices and finally could not get access to carry out the said exercise. This situation has been an obstacle to us to accomplish the said report and submit the same on the required date," reads part of their letter dated February 19, 2013.
The letter addressed to Msemwa and Company Advocates, further reads, "We are now writing to notify you officially that we have not done the work as instructed because access has not been availed to us. We regret that without having access, valuation of the building is not possible."
But when reached for comment on the matter, the ATCL Acting Managing Director, Captain Milton Lusajo Lazaro, told the 'Daily News' over the phone that no one was denied access to enter the building to conduct the evaluation as ordered by the Court. "We cannot go against the court order.
I have not seen such people coming here for the inspection and denied them access. I even asked my colleagues whether there were such people who came and denied entrance. So it is not true," the acting MD said.
He further pointed out that they were going on with negotiations with the decree holders (Leisure Tours) and their lawyers on how to settle the matter, and he claimed they have reached an understanding. "After all, this debt is not so big. We are going to clear it soon," he said.