Air Tanzania Plane Seized in the Netherlands Over Land Issues

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

It is still not clear exactly which aircraft on ATCL’s fleet has been seized.

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

Attorney General of Tanzania, Dr Eliezer Feleshi confirmed 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.

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“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.

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 had petitioned the ICSID to annul EcoDevelopment’s award.

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.

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The Swedish company is using the legal firm Houthoff in the Dutch courts, and Mannheimer Swartling in the ICSID proceedings. Tanzania on the other hand has turned to Buren Legal for the attachment proceedings but has not appointed an external counsel in the arbitration or annulment proceedings.

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 multi-billion sugar project in Bagamoyo.

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


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