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MPs commend lawyers on ATCL plane release

MEMBERS of Parliament yesterday commended a team of government lawyers that secured the release of Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) aircraft from South Africa last month.

National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai said the team deserved congratulations for successfully challenging an exparte order by a South African court to impound ATCL’s Airbus A220- 300 aircraft at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport after it landed on a scheduled flight from Dar es Salaam.

“On behalf of all Tanzanians, we congratulate the team of government lawyers for the job well done,” said Mr Ndugai after asking Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Dr Damas Ndumbaro, state attorneys’ team leader, to stand up.

Dr Ndumbaro, a lawyer by profession and an Advocate of High Court, is Songea Urban constituency representative on ruling CCM ticket.

He led the team that comprised Deputy Solicitor General Dr Ally Possi, Principal State Attorney V icent Tango who is also the Director of Litigation within the Solicitor General’s Office, Principal State Attorney, Gabriel Malata who is also Commissioner of Labour and ATCL State Attorney Job Mrema.

South African authorities impounded the ATCL leased aircraft on August 23 following a court application by a retired farmer who claimed he was owed $33 million, including interest, in compensation from the government after his land in the country was expropriated several decades ago.

The government lawyers successfully argued against the seizure of the aircraft, saying it was wrongly granted and the South African court had no jurisdiction to entertain the matter as neither the applicant nor the respondent were residents of South Africa.

The High Court in Gauteng province ruled it did not have jurisdiction over the matter and threw out last month’s order to detach the aircraft.

Earlier Goodluck Mlinga (Ulanga— CCM) had asked the Speaker that Parliament should give a special word for the government solicitors who had secured the release of the aircraft.

“Parliament should have a word on these competent lawyers and if possible let them be invited here,” he said.

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Author: HENRY LYIMO in Dodoma

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