Tanzania: Court Summons Briton Over Controversial Tigo Share Sale

COURT of Appeal has summoned a Briton, James Russell Bell to the hearing of application on controversial sale of MIC Tanzania Limited's 13bn/- shares to Golden Globe International Services Limited.

There are claims of forgery in the sale transaction of the 34,479 shares and the court warned in its notice yesterday that if James Bell will not show up to the hearing session on March 6, the application for revision will be heard and decided exparte, in his absence.

"If no appearance is made on your behalf, by yourself, your pleaders or by someone by law authorised to act for you in this revision, it will be heard and decided exparte," reads the notice signed by Court of Appeal Deputy Registrar Eddie Fussi.

According to the notice, the purpose of the hearing of the application called on court's "suo mottu" (own motion) is to examine the correctness, legality or propriety of the proceedings, judgment and decree issued by the High Court's District Registrar Pamela Mazengo on November 10 and 13, 2014.

The applicant is Millicom (Tanzania) NV, while the respondents are Golden Globe International Services Limited, James Bell and Quality Group Limited. The application hearing follows the complaint by Millicom (Tanzania) NV to Chief Justice on case proceedings.

There have been claims regarding the transfer of Tigo shares, with Millicom (Tanzania) NV, a limited liability company registered under the laws of Curacao, claiming to be the majority shareholder of MIC Tanzania Limited, a company registered in the United Republic of Tanzania. The source of the dispute can be traced way back in 2002 when James Bell filed a Civil Case No. 306/2002 against MIC UFA Ltd, Millicom International Cellular SA and MIC Tanzania Limited. In the case, Millicom NV was not a party. The plaintiff in the proceedings managed to get a default judgment against MIC UFA Limited and Millicom International Cellular SA only in March 2005.

The plaintiff attempted to execute the judgment against shares in Tigo, but could not because High Court Judge Laurian Kalegeya, as he then was, on November 7, 2009 ruled that the shares were not owned by Millicom International Cellular SA, but rather Millicom NV, a wholly separate legal entity. However, on February 18, 2014, the plaintiff moved another action by filing application for execution against the same shares, which he claimed were owned by Millicom International Cellular in Tigo. On June 17, 2014, the DistrictRegistrar, Ms Pamela Mazengo, appointed Mr Mustafa Nyumbamkali of Super Auction Mart & Court Brokers as auctioneer and issued a prohibitory order attaching shares of Millicom International Cellular in Tigo.

These non-existent shares were purportedly sold by way of an auction on November 5, 2014 to an offshore company, Golden Globe International Services limited, allegedly controlled and beneficially owned by Yusuf Manji.

On November 10, 2014, the District Registrar issued the sale certificate. The letter by Millicom NV indicates that having realised that it has purchased shares that do not exist, the share buyer and court broker allegedly moved the District Registrar to issue another sale certificate, with the name of Millicom NV inserted.

Millicom NV states in the complaint letter to the Chief Justice that "the circumstances surrounding this 'editing' of the Order issued by Mazengo by DR strongly implies forgery or fabrication and serious misconduct."

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