THE Court of Appeal has dismissed with costs the objection raised by Twiga Paper Products Limited in a dispute involving ownership of a house between former Director General of the Fair Competition Commission, Mr Godfrey Enock Mkocha, and the company.
Justice Bernard Luanda, in his ruling, said, "The preliminary objection raised has no merits. The same is dismissed with costs." In the matter, the company had filed four grounds of objection opposing hearing of an application lodged by Mr Mkocha seeking extension of time to file revision proceedings from the judgment given by then High Court Judge Stella Longway on January 26, 2007.
The former senior civil servant had rushed to the court for intervention after officials of the company threatened to throw him out of the house situated on Plot 1032/60 along Ocean Road in Ilala district, where he has lived uninterrupted for about 21 years on the basis of the judgment given by Judge Longway.
It is alleged that the house in question was a government quarter since 1956, but there were other reports which suggested the contrary, that the said plot situated was owned by the company.
The company raised four grounds of objection, claiming that the application by Mr Mkocha was fatally defective for failure to enjoin defendants (the Attorney General and the Ministry of Works), who were party in the High Court proceedings whose judgment was being sought to be revised.
The company alleged further that the lower court was no longer seized with the proceedings in the case and that, as a servant tenant of the government, had no locus to be enjoined in the suit at the High Court, which decided the lawful ownership of the premises between the government and the company.
Furthermore, the company attacked the affidavit sworn by Mr Mkocha to support his application, alleging that some of the paragraphs therein were argumentative and contained conclusions. But Justice Luanda observed that, after having carefully read the points of the objections raised, he discovered that the first said three grounds were prematurely raised.
"I am saying so because the three points have no bearing whatsoever to the application for extension of time. Rather they tried to go to the merits of the revision proceedings, which are yet to be lodged. The respondent (the company) has jumped the gun," he ruled.
Regarding the allegations on the affidavit, the judge ruled, "I have carefully read the said paragraphs. I was unable to see any arguments or conclusions on the said affidavit. In the eyes of the law, the affidavit is proper and is in order."
In her judgment sought to be challenged, Judge Longway declared the company as legal owner of the plot in controversy. It was argued before the High Court that Twiga Paper Products Limited owned the suit premises by virtual of a Certificate Title number 186056/17 issued on July 12, 1976.
The company, through its previous Managing Director, the late Mr Kantilal Haribhai Patel, allegedly bought the house from one Sadik Haji Gulamhussein Esmail, who was the earlier owner. After the death of Mr Patel, his shares in the company were transferred to his son, Mr Dilip Kumar Kantilal.
Mr Kantilal, who was living in England, came later to Tanzania in 1996 to take over the managing directorship of the company. In the process, he allegedly came across some documents and discovered that the house in dispute was occupied by the Ministry of Works.
The company took court action to require the ministry to vacate the premises. But the ministry strongly disputed the claims as the house had been used as a government quarter since April 28, 1956 and denied transferring the same to anyone, nor had there been any revocation of government interests in the premises.
In his application, Mr Mkocha alleges that the judgment which Twiga Papers Products Limited relies on as the basis to evict him from the house at issue did not give the company right of eviction and, worse still, he was not a party to the suit as the company had never applied to the court to join him in the matter.
"The judgment is tainted with illegality or fraud and that the title deed which is the basis of the judgment was procured through fraud," he states in the application.