Air Tanzania plane held in the Netherlands in row over land title

Dar es Salaam

A plane belonging to Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) has been seized in the Netherlands after a Swedish firm won a $165 million award against Tanzania due to a revoked land title in the Bagamoyo sugar project.

It is still not clear exactly which particular aircraft on ATCL’s fleet has been seized and under what circumstances.

However, on Wednesday, the government dispelled fears of the possible attachment of an ATCL plane by a Dutch court, with the Attorney-General Eliezer Feleshi saying everything was under control.

Dr Feleshi confirmed to The Citizen that a Swedish firm that won a $165 million award against Tanzania had persuaded the court to uphold the attachment of the aircraft despite the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) having issued a stay of execution, pending annulment proceedings.

“It’s true that they went to court in the Netherlands after we had successfully appealed to the ICSID for a stay of execution. Everything is under control,” he said.


Appealed court’s decision

Dr Feleshi added that the government had already appealed against the Dutch court’s decision but declined to offer further details.

“I can’t disclose further details. Let’s be patient as the matter is in court.”

Tanzania has argued that the attachment is unlawful because it was obtained a day after the state petitioned the ICSID to annul EcoDevelopment’s award.

But the judge reasoned that the ICSID’s provisional stay of execution of the award only took effect on the date the institution registered the state’s annulment request.

EcoDevelopment, which is owned by 18 Swedish nationals, brought its ICSID claim in 2017 under the Sweden-Tanzania bilateral investment treaty.

That came after the government decided to unilaterally revoke the land title for a sugar project in Bagamoyo.

The case commenced at the ICSID, a World Bank organ based in Washington.

The land title revocation was a major blow to the Swedish company, which had for over ten years worked to develop the project and invested $52 million in a ready-to-go project for local production of sugar, renewable electricity and fuel.

Source:  The East African

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