BUSINESSWOMAN Zainab Ismail has taken to court Exxon Mobile Exploration and Production Tanzania Limited, seeking orders of payments of unpaid rent of 213,346.37 US dollars (about 500m/-) and declaration over illegal termination of a lease agreement.
The suit is at the High Court’s Land Division before Judge Benhajj Masoud. Already, the businesswoman, the plaintiff, has given evidence to prove the claims as stated in the plaint of the suit. The Exxon Mobile Exploration and Production, the defendant was scheduled to start giving defence evidence yesterday.
However, the session could not take off because the anticipated witness, Mr Mark Fraser, currently in South Korea, who was to testify through video conference, could not make it because of technical issues. The case was adjourned to February 9, 2022 for commencement of defence hearing.
In the plaint, the plaintiff states that she is the rightful and lawful owner of premises on Plot No. 1400 Msasani Kimweri in Dar es Salaam. On August 15, 2013, the plaintiff entered into a lease agreement with the defendant, which was for an initial term of five years as from October 1, 2013.
She states that both parties to the agreement performed their respective obligations and the defendant peacefully enjoyed its stays and that at all times the premises had been occupied by the President and Managing Director of the defendant who negotiated the lease, by then Rolf de Jong.
It is stated that upon the defendant getting a new President and Managing Director, Mr Mark Fraser, on March 30, 2017, the latter issued a purported notice on terminating the lease prematurely, which was contrary to the agreement and for no cause.
Apart from the said notice being wrongful and contrary to the lease agreement, the said President and Managing Director of the defendant and the defendant company could not vacate from the premises, instead they sought for an extension and unilaterally assumed the same was proper.
“To date the defendant has possession of the premises and still holding access to the same having stationed security guards hired from K. K. Security,” reads part of the plaint.
She states further that the defendant is still in possession of all keys of the premises and has never conducted an acceptable inventory to establish whether the premises remained tenantable or otherwise and in need and repairs, if any, prior to handing back the premises in line with the agreement.
According to the plaint, as from October 1, 2017, the defendant breached and continues to breach the lease agreement by not paying rent for the sum of 213,346.37 US dollars or its equivalent in Tanzania shillings being the unpaid rent and interests.
Therefore, apart from payments of unpaid rents, the plaintiff is also seeking for orders requiring the defendant to yield vacant possession of the premises and be condemned to pay general and punitive damages as well as interests of the principle amount and costs of the suit.
However, in the written statement of defence, the defendant has vehemently disputed facts as pleaded in the plaint of the suit and demanded from the plaintiff to strictly prove the same. The defendant claims that the plaintiff does not have any legal claim against her in relation to the premises in question.
It is further stated that the defendant issued a proper notice of termination of the lease on March 30, 2017 which was received by the plaintiff on March 31, 2017.
According to the written statement of defence, the notice of termination provided clearly that the effect date of termination of the lease will be October 1, 2017 for four years after the commencement of the lease in accordance with the terms of the agreement.