Are you doing Business in Tanzania? Then advertise with us and give your Business a maximum exposure (Call: 0716-231-772)

VIP wins case over local courts competence to hear IPTL matters

A LOCAL investment company, VIP Engineering and Marketing Limited, has won a case in the United States against Standard Chartered Bank over competence of Tanzanian courts to determine disputes linking Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL).

In its verdict of December 15, 2014, for the Second Circuit, the US Court of Appeals affirmed the decisions given by the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, in September and October last year, regarding Tanzanian jurisdiction courts in the matter.

“We have considered the arguments raised by SCB (Standard Chartered Bank) on appeal and find them to be without merit. For the reasons stated, the District Court’s ruling September 10, 2013, September 23, 2013 and October 4, 2013 are affirmed,” the verdict concludes.

Circuit Judges Jose Cabranes, Richard Wesley and Peter Hall, observed that the District Court found that the Bank, through its counsel, previously represented to the court that it considered Tanzania as an adequate alternative forum and would consent to jurisdiction in Tanzania.”

“Therefore, based upon the specific factual history of this case, the District Court’s reliance on SCB’s oral and written expressions of consent in granting SCB’s motion to dismiss on FNC grounds was not clear error,” they said.

In the appeal, the Bank was appealing from the District Court’s September 10, 2013 judgment, dismissing the complaint on forum non-convenience (FNC) grounds and two orders entered by the District Court on September 23, 2013 and October 4, 2013.

In the two orders, respectively, the court found SCB to have consented to four conditions associated with the complaint’s dismissal and stopped SCB from withdrawing that consent. We assume the parties’ familiarity with the underlying facts, the procedural history of the case.

On October 4, last year, the New York Court rejected the contention by SCB, seeking to challenge the jurisdiction of Tanzanian courts to determine IPTL disputes and reaffirmed its September 10, order and that of September 23, in dismissing the Bank’s action.

In its order of September 10, the New York Court, among others, directed Standard Chartered Bank to file a statement confirming its consent to jurisdiction in the Republic of Tanzania, while in that of September 23, the court refused to review its previous ruling on the matter.

Before issuing the orders in question while litigating a case lodged by the Tanzanian Company, the Bank had represented, both orally and in writing, that it considered Tanzania an adequate alternative forum for determining the case.

Such presentation were deemed to be an expression of the Bank’s consent to the adjudication of the action in Tanzania and to comply with any final judgment rendered by any court of competent jurisdiction there in connection with the parties’ underlying the dispute.

“Because Standard Chartered previously informed the court that Tanzania would be an adequate alternative forum and thus at least implicitly that it would consent to Tanzanian jurisdiction, the doctrine of judicial estoppels bar (it) from withdrawing that consent,” it was ruled.

Judge Victor Marrero added, “Judicial estoppels prevent a party from making a contradictory statement in a later stage of litigation based on the exigencies of the moment.”

He said permitting Standard Chartered to change its position on consent to Tanzanian jurisdiction after the court had already announced its reliance on the prior representations would have an adverse impact on the integrity of the judicial process.

According to the judge, Standard Chartered Bank’s inconsistent positions have imposed costs on VIP Engineering Company by delaying the resolution of the latter’s claims and imposing costs on them to continue litigating before the court in New York.

Source: Daily News (18/12/2014).

Read More »

European Court of Justice rules obesity can be a disability

[JURIST] The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on Thursday that morbid obesity can be considered a disability under the Equal Treatment in Employment Directive if the employee is prevented from fully participating in professional life because of his or her weight. 

The case arose from the Retten i Kolding, a Danish court, where there was uncertainty on how to rule in the case of a fired child care provider who claimed his termination was a cause of his inability to perform because of his weight. The Danish court then posed two questions to the ECJ: whether the EU Treaty and Charter contains an independent prohibition on weight-based discrimination, and whether obesity can be classified as a disability, and as such, fall under the Equal Treatment in Employment Directive. 

With respect to the first question, the ECJ found that there was no stand-alone prohibition. In responding to the second question, the court noted that a disability implies "limitations which result from long-term physical, mental or psychological impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder the full and effective participation of the person in professional life on an equal basis with other workers." The court found that a morbidly obese person could be classified as disabled. The court, stressing their commitment to protecting against all discrimination, stated that it is not necessary that the actual work being performed be hindered in order to see obesity as a disability. As long as an employee is being hindered from "full and effective participation on equal terms with others," then weight could very well be a disability.

The awareness of disability rights and the prevention of discrimination against the disabled has been a pertinent topic for many years. In September the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights celebrated Guyana's ratification of the disability convention, boosting it to 150 signatories. Just last month the US Supreme Court agreed to hear the question of whether the Americans with Disabilities Act requires the accommodation of mentally ill and violent suspects in custody by law enforcement.

Read More »

Bukoba priest arrested in US over prostitution

Dar es Salaam. 

A Catholic Church priest from Bukoba Diocese assigned to an east Mesa church in the United States is among five suspects arrested by police in an operation that targeted suspects of prostitution involving under-age girls.

He was arrested on Friday after Mesa police detectives posed as 16-year-old girls and advertised their services on a website known for trading in prostitution.

A statement released by the police said, men were supposed to come to a Mesa motel at a predetermined time to meet with prostitutes for sex.

Reached for comment yesterday, Bukoba Diocese Bishop Desderius Rwoma admitted to have received reports of the arrest of Fr Solomon Bandiho. He said, the priest was in the US for doctoral studies.

However, Bishop Rwoma desisted from commenting on the issue pending confirmation of the incident. “I can confirm to have heard about the arrest but I cannot comment further because we are yet to check and establish what actually happened,” he told The Citizen over the phone.

According to Mesa police, when the men agreed to have sex with the supposed prostitutes, even after being told they were 16, police arrested them on suspicion of child prostitution.

Detective Steve Berry, a Mesa police spokesman noted that the suspects include Fr Bandiho, 49, who is listed on the Holy Cross Catholic Church’s website as the east Mesa church’s parochial administrator.

The other four suspects were identified by police as Mr Eric Mohren, 34; Mr Christopher Sherman, 48; Mr Jose Flores Nunez, 31 and Mr Santiago Robles, 26.

“When you have people who are willing to prey upon our juveniles, those are some of the worse people in our society,” Berry said.

He said someone who is willing to have sex with a 16-year-old might be willing to victimize even younger children.

Rob DeFrancesco, a spokesman for the diocese, said the diocese learned about Fr Bandiho’s arrest on Friday afternoon. Bandiho’s faculties as a priest have been removed, meaning that he is barred from public ministry, he said. Other priests will be available at Holy Cross to say Mass and perform other ministerial duties.

Source: The Citizen

Read More »