Dar es Salaam. The High Court (commercial division) has dismissed a lawsuit in which a regional fuel supply company, Petrofuel (T) Limited, was seeking repayment of Sh96 million from the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Corporation (Dawasco) over unpaid fuel supply bills.
Two years after it filed thelawsuit, the courtsaid the fuel company has failed to produce reliable evidence and exhibits to substantiate the claim that the fuel supply debt had not been settled.
Petrofuel claimed that between 20th June 2011 and 5th July Dawasco made several orders for supply of fuel which was subsequently supplied and acknowledged by Dawasco officials by delivery note.
A witness for the fuel company, Jose Thomas, had told the court that the orders for the supply of fuel were made by Local Purchase Orders (LPOs), and upon supply Delivery Notes and Tax Invoices were issued to Dawasco. However, when cross-questioned by the defence lawyer, the witness failed to tender in court original delivery notes and tax invoices or certified documents as to prove the claims.
The witness claimedall original Local Purchase Order, Delivery Notes and Tax Invoices were thrown out and went missing after they were forcefully evicted from their office.
“He claimed all documents were lost but he didn’t tender police loss report to substantiate the claim that the original documents were missing or stolen,” said Justice HarunaSongoro in a recent decision.
The judge said uncertified copies were of minimum evidential value and the court couldn’t rest its judgment on evidence whose credibility is doubtful. “The court has considered the plaintiff (Petrofuel)’s claim which is based on the uncertified copies of LPOs and Delivery Notes and find in the absence of original documents or duly certified copies of originals or a police loss report the claimed sum remained unsubstantiated because is based on uncertified photocopies,” said the judge.
Petrofuel (T) Limited is an oil company registered in Tanzania. The Company mainly focuses into imports, warehousing, distribution and marketing of premium quality petroleum products across East Africa. Petrofuel was incorporated in 2007, began operations within Dar es Salaam.