Tanzania Court Orders Arrest of Prominent Traders

Dar es Salaam — The Commercial Division of the High Court of Tanzania has ordered the arrest of seven prominent city businesspeople for their failure to execute the Court's ruling with regard to the payment of $600,027.21 and 4,822.27 English pounds to a firm known as Touton SA.

The seven businesspeople - who are also directors and shareholders of Karagwe Estates Ltd - are Eustace Katagira, Fortunatus Faustine, Sebba Bilakwate, Severine Katabaro, Fulgens Katagira, Rugaimukama Kalegeya and William Kategaya.

The warrant of arrest for the seven - a copy of which The Citizen has seen - was signed by the Court's deputy registrar and addressed to the Dar es Salaam Special Police Zone Commander.

The Court reached the decision after the businesspersons failed to execute its ruling which was delivered on July 28, 2020 in Case Number 29 of 2020.

In the case, which was filed by Touton SA, the company (Touton SA) asked the court to register an award that was awarded to it by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) British Coffee Unit in London on April 22, 2020, following its business dispute with Karagwe Estates.

The Commercial Division of the High Court ruled in favour of the applicant, and registered the London court's ruling thereby giving it the mandate to be executed within Tanzania's jurisdiction.

But, until April 2021 - ten months since the ruling was registered by a competent local court - the seven businesspeople had not complied with the ruling, thus compelling the court to issue a warrant of arrest.

With its headquarters in Bordeaux, France, Touton SA is a commodities trader in cocoa, coffee, cereals, assorted oil seeds and other raw materials such as spices and ingredients for almost 150 years.

A lawyer for Touton SA, Edward Chuwa, told The Citizen yesterday that out of the $600,027.21 (Sh1.38 billion) and 4,822.27 (about Sh14.4 million) pounds, the company has paid only $25 - and amount that has not been registered by the court.

The warrant of arrest seeks to compel the businesspeople to pay the money plus interest and costs associated with the case.

The warrant also orders the Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander to return to the court the warrant and how it was executed on June 22, 2021.

In case the arrest fails, the Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander will also be compelled to explain why and how it failed.

The ruling by a London arbitrator was based on what was termed as a breach of the 2018 agreement/contract requirements between Touton SA and Karagwe Estates Limited.

In 2018, the two parties signed a contract that financially helped Karagwe to acquire $2 million on different occasions so it could implement its business activities linked to the buying of coffee.

In the contract, Mr Eustace Katagire was the guarantor on behalf of Karagwe Estate Limited in which he pledged to be held responsible in case the company failed to implement the contract requirements.

In line with the contract, Touton filed a labour dispute case at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) British Coffee Unit in London.

After listening from both sides, arbitrators, Simon Wakefield, Thomas Blackwall and Agnieszka Krasuska ordered Karagwe to pay Touton the amount that was alter registered with the Comemrcial Division of the High Court in Tanzania.

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