SACP Nzowa Arusha house claims hit brick wall again

THE High Court, Arusha Registry, has given one month to retired Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SACP) Godfrey Nzowa to vacate from the house situated in Arusha Municipality, which was sold by the government to retired Commissioner of Police (CP) Seleman Kova.

Judge Mohamed Gwae issued the order recently after dismissing the suit lodged by SACP Nzowa, the former Commander of the Anti-Drugs Unit of the Police Force against CP Kova, who was Commander of the Dar es Salaam Special Police Zone, for lack of proof of claims sought.

“The plaintiff (SACP Nzowa) should give vacant possession within a month period from the date of this judgment or be evicted after lapse of one month reckoning from today,” the judge declared in the judgment dated March 17, 2023.

He also allowed a counter claim lodged by CP Kova and ordered the plaintiff to pay 50m/- as general damages and other 200 US dollars per month being rental arrears from January 2007 to the time of vacant possession of the house in question.

“Consequently, the plaintiff’s case fails save that (he) was a civil servant who would be entitled to purchase a house in which he was found dwelling during identification exercise. (CP Kova)’s counter claim succeeds to a great extent,” Judge Gwae ruled.

Before reaching into the conclusion, the judge determined several issues, including whether between the two ex-senior police officers who was entitled to purchase the house and whether the sale agreement between CP Kova and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works was null and void.

He also considered whether the transfer and registration of the suit property in the name of CP Kova was lawful and whether he was entitled to specific damages being rental fees of the house in question.

After going through the evidence by both parties, the judge ruled that CP Kova proved to the required standard that he was entitled for the purchase of the suit premises by virtual of being in occupation in 2001 when the identification of the civil servants occupying the government houses was conducted.

He also ruled that the sale agreement between CP Kova and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works was valid due to the evidence produced sufficiently giving reasons as to why he was considered to be in occupation of the suit premises.

The judge noted from the evidence adduced by both parties that CP Kova registered the suit premises in his name and subsequently obtained the title deed issued on December 2010 while the matter was pending in court, a situation that raised concerns from the plaintiff.

It was his position that mere existence of a land dispute between the parties does not automatic operates as a bar to the registration and obtaining of certificate of title. He said there ought to be a lawful order restraining CP Kova from transferring ownership from the government to his own name.

“Alternatively, (the plaintiff) ought to have dully filed caveat with the Registrar of Titles, which is not the case in this matter. Similarly, (CP Kova) had all necessary documents (….) establishing ownership. The registration of (CP Kova)’s name to the suit premises was lawful,” the judge ruled.

This is the third time the plaintiff is losing the court battle over the house in question. The first time was when the High Court dismissed the suit he lodged to challenge the sale in favour of CP Kova. After going to the Court of Appeal, the matter was ordered to be heard afresh for not joining a necessary party.

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