Couple’s bid to claim1.4bn/-, school ownership hits snag

DAR ES SALAAM: A MISSIONARY couple from South Korea, Jung Hwan Kim and Sang Ok Nam, have lost their bid claiming 1.4bn/- payments and ownership of Rainbow Nursery and Primary School situated at Toangoma area, Kigamboni District in Dar es Salaam Region.

This follows a judgment issued by the High Court, Dar es Salaam Sub-Registry in a case under which the couple was locking horns with the Tanzania Presbyterian Church, alleging that they constructed the school using their own funds and contributions from friends.

“I declare that the assets and properties in Rainbow Nursery and Primary School and all other assets belong to the Tanzania Presbyterian Church… “…I order Jung Hwan Kim and Sang Ok Nam to surrender the management of Rainbow Nursery and Primary School and all its assets to the Tanzania Presbyterian Church,” Judge John Nkwabi declared in his judgment dated February 5, 2024.

Before reaching the decision, the judge considered some issues, including whether the two Missionaries were founders, owners and financiers of Rainbow Nursery and Primary School.

He also considered whether Rainbow Nursery and Primary School was their project under the umbrella of Tanzania Presbyterian Church and whether the Tanzania Presbyterian Church terminated the couple’s membership to the Church in order to take over the school.

Deliberating on the issue, the judge noted that the certificate of registration of the school indicates that the owner is Tanzania Presbyterian Church while the manager of the school is Jung Hwan Kim.

Further, he said, the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) for the school is in the name of Tanzania Presbyterian Church and the Certificate of Occupancy, where the school is built, is in the name of Tanzania Presbyterian Church.

There are certificates of donation of properties and a letter from District Commissioner -Temeke, requesting The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) for tax exemption for a motor vehicle intended to be used by Tanzania Presbyterian Church which is dated 21st December 2009.

“That proves sufficiently that the defendant (Tanzania Presbyterian Church) is the owner of the school by virtue of its mission. The plaintiffs (Jung Hwan Kim and Sang Ok Nam) have failed dismally to prove that they own the school,” he ruled.

The judge said that it was fascinating how the counsel for the plaintiffs swerved to discuss the issue of ownership which is at stake and was stuck discussing the irrelevant issue of whether the plaintiffs were the founders of the school.

By all means, he said, the testimonies of plaintiffs’ witnesses appear to have a grudge against the defendant because they were dismissed from employment at Philadelphia Pre- and Primary school which is also under the defendant.

According to the judge, the counsel of the plaintiff seems to attempt to drag the Court to hold that the school is a project of the plaintiff under the umbrella of the defendant. “I decline to be pulled to that angle,” he said.

He further said it was inconceivable that though the plaintiffs state that the receipts are not in their names rather are in the name of the school, they want to be compensated by the defendant to the tune of 1,417,152,600/- with no proof whatsoever, save for mere words of the mouth.

The judge noted from the plaintiffs’ counsel criticising the defendant for failure to prove by receipts its defence. He said that such a demand is not backed by the law especially in respect of the plaintiff because the law requires the one who alleges to prove. Both parties to the suit belong to Tanzania Presbyterian Church, a religious denomination.

Their main dispute involved the matter related as to who owns the school which is registered under Tanzania Presbyterian Church.

The decision by the parties to seek court’s intervention is an utter proof that religious institutions are not spared from the turmoil of modern life, thus are not unsusceptible to clashes of interests the world witnesses in other spheres of modern life.

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