High court orders school to pay arrears to NSSF

DAR ES SALAAM: THE High Court, Dar es Salaam Sub-Registry, has ordered the owner of Premier Girls Secondary School, Aysha Mzee, to pay over 228m/- to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) being principal and accrued penalties of contributions arrears.

Judge Awamu Mbagwa issued the order recently after granting a summary judgment in favour of the Attorney General (AG) and Board of Trustees of NSSF, as plaintiffs, against Aysha Mzee, who trades as Premier Girls Secondary School, the defendant.

“The defendant is ordered to pay 226,855,800/- being principal and accrued penalties of contributions arrears for diverse dates between March, 2019 up to September 2022,” he declared in the judgment dated March 1, 2024.

Summary judgment is awarded if the undisputed facts and the law make it clear that it would be impossible for one party to prevail if the matter were to proceed for full trial.

When one party believes that there are no important facts in dispute, he can seek for summary judgment. When such a case is filed, the opposite party could seek leave of the court to appear and defend the case, failure of which the court can proceed to issue such a judgment.

In the case at hand, the judge pointed out that it is the law, that is, Order XXXV Rule (2)(2) of the Civil Procedure Code that where a summary suit is not defended, the allegations contained in the plaint are deemed to be admitted.

Considering that no application for leave to appear and defend the case was filed by the defendant despite that she was properly served and entered appearance on December 13, 2023, he was of the unfeigned view that this is the right case to summarily enter judgment.

“I have carefully scanned the schedules of outstanding contributions attached to the plaint and satisfied myself that the total outstanding contributions stood at 191,047,000/- as of September, 2019. Thus, by adding the accumulated penalties of 35,808,800, it makes a total of 226,855,800 as rightly claimed by the plaintiffs,” the judge said.

The defendant is a natural person and owner of Premier Girls Secondary School, which is located within Bagamoyo in Coast region. Upon commencement of business, the defendant applied and was registered as a contributing member employer of the NSSF since 2012.

However, the defendant defaulted remittance of members’ principal contributions for diverse dates from March, 2019 up to September 2022. It was contended that the defendant was reminded to settle the arrears to no avail. As such, at the time of instituting this suit, the total outstanding amount stood at 226,855,800/- out of which 191,047,000/- is a principal contribution whereas 35,808,800/- is accumulated penalties.

Following the defendant’s failure or neglect to clear the outstanding contributions, the plaintiff decided to institute this suit.

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