Tanzania: Court Seals Manji's Dream to Own Tigo

THE Court of Appeal has shattered the dream by Golden Globe International Services Limited allegedly owned by prominent businessman Yusuf Manji to reclaim the 13bn/-worth of 34,479 shares purchased in Mic Tanzania Limited, trading as Tigo.

This followed the decision by Justices Stella Mugasha, Rehema Mkuye and Ignas Kitusi to dismiss with costs an application for review lodged by Golden Globe International Services Limited and Quality Group Limited, as applicants in an attempt to challenge the nullification of the tremendous increase in revenue of the sale deal of the shares in question.

The sale was made in 2014 in execution of a court's decree in favour of a British national James Alan Russell Bell, who by then was claimed to have been an employee in Mic Tanzania Limited, which is one of mobile phone service Provider Company in Tanzania.

During hearing of the application for review, the applicants contended that there are serious manifest errors on the face of the record resulting in miscarriage of justice and they were denied an opportunity to be heard before the Court ordered that shares they purchased be released to Millicom (Tanzania), NV.

In their ruling delivered in Dar es Salaam recently, however, the justices of the appeals court said, "The complaint alleging that the applicants were not given an opportunity to be heard, is generally unsubstantiated."

They further declared: "The order that the applicants should be refunded by the one holding the money was consequential upon nullifying the sale. We do not conceive a situation where a separate hearing would be conducted on this point. For those reasons, this application is dismissed with costs."

The justices pointed out that in the Court of Appeal, the right to a hearing is exercised by presentation of written submissions under Rule106 of the Court of Appeal Rules and, or oral submissions.

However, they noted, when hearing the matter on revision opened by the Chief Justice suo moto (own motion), in reaction to complaint by Millicom (Tanzania), NV the applicants made use of both written and oral addresses to the Court, so the contention that they were not heard is hard to comprehend.

In the impugned decision sought to be reviewed, the Court ruled in favour of Millicom (Tanzania), NV after holding that the execution process of the court decree initiated by the British national was flawed with material irregularities which rendered the purported sale of the shares a nullity.

The justices proceeded to set aside the purported sale and order the purchaser to be refunded the purchased price by whoever is holding the money.

They further ruled that the legally sold 34,479 shares be restored to Millicom (Tanzania), NV forthwith. Apart from the British national and Millicom (Tanzania, other respondents into the application were Mic UFA Limited, Millicom International Cellular S.A and Mic Tanzania Limited.

There have been ranges of claims as regards to transfer of shares in Tigo 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 ofTanzania.

The source of the dispute can be traced way back in 2002 when a Briton,Mr James Bell, filed a Civil Case against MIC UFA Ltd, Millicom International Cellular SA and MIC Tanzania Limited.

In that case, Millicom Tanzania NV was not a party. Mr Bell, the Plaintiff in such proceedings, managed to get a default judgment in March 2005 against MIC UFA Limited and Millicom International Cellular SA only.

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 such 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 an application for execution against the same shares, which he claimed were owned by Millicom International Cellular in Tigo.

On June 17, 2014, a District Registrar appointed a court broker as auctioneer and issued a prohibitory order attaching shares under which Millicom International Cellular owned in Tigo.

Such 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 Mr Yusuf Manji.

On November 10, 2014, the District Registrar issued a certificate of sale.

Millicom NV complained in a letter to the Chief Justice indicating that having the buyer realised to have purchased shares that do not exist, a move was allegedly made to the District Registrar to issue another certificate of sale, where the name of Millicom NV was inserted.

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