Tanzanian authorities are working to secure the release of an Air Tanzania aircraft which remains impounded at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg following the failure of the Tanzanian government to pay a farmer the full $33 million compensation he is owed after his farm was nationalised decades ago.
The aircraft was seized, following an order granted by the High Court in Johannesburg at the end of last week, after it landed in South Africa during a scheduled flight from Tanzania’s economic capital Dar es Salaam, the East African reported.
Lawyer Roger Wakefield of Werksmans Attorneys South Africa has refused to name his Namibian-born, Tanzanian farm owner client.
The privately-owned bean and seed farm, including equipment, 250 cars and 12 small planes, was seized by the Tanzanian authorities in the 1980s. The farmer was subsequently awarded $33 million in compensation in the 1990s.
However, the government only paid out $20 million so with interest added there is now an outstanding balance of $16 million.
The farmer was also declared a prohibited immigrant in Tanzania, a move described as groundless by his lawyer, after fighting for years to recoup the outstanding money owed to him.
The Tanzanian government had acknowledged the outstanding amount and promised to pay the man back but after empty promises the farmer decided to take further legal action. The aircraft is valued at $90 million.
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