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Seized plane set to fly back soon

TANZANIANS will, anytime soon, welcome their Bombardier Q400 back to the country after its release in Canada.

President John Magufuli on Thursday broke the news that the plane, which was held in Canada over court case, had been released, giving a huge relief to the State airline, ATCL, and the country which is gearing up to revive the company.

The plane has been held in Canada for about three weeks now after the authorities in that country seized it because of a dispute between Tanzania and a South African farmer, Mr Hermanus Steyn.

Mr Steyn asked the Canadian authorities to impound the plane pending a court case in which he is demanding that the Tanzanian government pays him $33 million. He is demanding the money as compensation following the government’s decision to seize his land back in 1980’s.

“For your information, our plane which has been held in Canada has now been released; you will be informed on the date for receiving it. Its reception will be here in Mwanza,” the Head of State announced when addressing members of the CCM National Executive Committee (NEC) in the city.

This is the second time that the retired South African farmer has demanded the seizure of Tanzania’s planes over compensation claims.

On 24th August, a South Africa court also ordered the seizure of another Tanzanian plane, the Airbus 220-300, which was due to fly from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Dar es Salaam.

The government deployed its lawyers to South Africa led by Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Deputy Minister Dr Damas Ndumbaro, who is an advocate by profession.

However, the South African court ordered the release of aircraft on 5th September after some days of a legal battle.

When the same man asked the authorities in Canada to seize another plane, Foreign and East African Cooperation Minister Prof Palamagamba K abudi stated that the country was ready for the battle.

The minister expressed concerns over what he claimed was a tendency of Canadian authorities to seize Tanzania’s planes.

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Mwandishi: BERNARD LUGONGO

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