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DRC firms lock horns over 35bn/- dispute in Dar

SIX private companies and individual persons from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are before the High Court’s Commercial Division in Dar es Salaam, locking horns on over 35bn/-payments in a dispute relating shipment of two containers with minerals to China.

They are Ben Ngamije Mwangachuchu, who trades as Societe Miniere De Busunzu Sarl, as plaintiff and Cooperative Mes Artisaabaux Miniers Du Congo, John Crawlex, Christopher Huber, Star Dragon Corporation Limited and Vin Mart (T) Limited, who are defendants in the suit.

In a recent development, Judge Butamo Philip rejected in part an application by the defendants for orders requiring the plaintiff to deposit in court five million US dollars (over 10bn/- ), as security for costs pending determination of the commercial dispute by the parties.

However, having considering the submissions by the parties, the judge directed the plaintiff to furnish security of 20m/- within two weeks, holding that such amount would suffice considering the circumstances surrounding the matter.

A brief historical background to the dispute shows that in the year 2018 the plaintiff lodged a case against the defendants claiming for, among other things, payment of 11,044,456 US dollars being specific damages.

He also pressed for 7,000,000 US dollars, as general damages for containers of tantalum alleged to have been smuggled by the defendants from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In his amended plaint filed in court on May 30, 2018, the plaintiff stated categorically that he is a resident of Goma, Kivu Province and a Citizen of DRC.

The defendants, therefore, decided to file the application for security for costs since the plaintiff is not a resident and citizen of Tanzania.

There were two affidavits filed in support of the application with the deponents stating that being a non-citizen, on May 17, 2018, the plaintiff obtained an ex-parte court order, restraining the defendants, their agents and, or employee from removing from Dar es Salaam Port the two containers.

Such containers containing minerals (Tantalum) worth 3,155,376 US dollars belongs to Star Dragon Corporation Limited. As a result, the defendant company has failed to deliver the said minerals to his clients in China within the agreed period.

The deponents stated that by failure to sell the consignment, the company has incurred loss of 35,736 US dollars and as on August 2, 2018, according to the analysis on world mineral prices the consignment that is kept at the port will cause the company to suffer a minimum loss of 392, 132.20 US dollars.

Further claims show that all the defendants have incurred and are still incurring costs for transport to and from Tanzania for the purpose of overseeing the case and accommodation.

It is stated also that the company has already spent a sum of 290,000 US dollars for transport, accommodation and legal fees.

In a counter affidavit, the deponent for the plaintiff disputed all the allegations on the losses alleged to be incurred by the defendants.

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Author: FAUSTINE KAPAMA

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