Tanzania’s Bombardier Q400 plane seized in Canada

Dar es Salaam. Tanzania’s Bombardier Q400 plane which is among new planes procured by the government for the national carrier--Air Tanzania Corporation Limited (ATCL)-- has been impounded in Canada.

 Foreign Affairs minister Prof Palamagamba Kabudi has revealed this on Saturday November 23, 2019. He said the plane was supposed to fly to Tanzania before the end of November.

Prof Kabudi claims that the plane was impounded after a South African farmer, Mr Hermanus Steyn, asked the Canadian authorities to impound the plane, pending a court case from which he is demanding the Tanzania government to pay him $33 million. He is demanding the money as a compensation following the government’s decision to seize his land back in 1980s.

The foreign affairs minister revealed this to President John Magufuli at the State House in Chamwino, during a ceremony to swear in new Tanzanian ambassadors to Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Burundi, Egypt and Abu Dhabi.

This is the second time that the South African retired farmer has demanded the seizure of Tanzania’s planes over compensation claims. In August a South Africa court ordered the seizure of another Tanzania plane following a request from the farmer. However, the plane was released following a successful appeal by the government.

However, the minister said a group of lawyers will be dispatched to Canada to appeal against the decision to impound the plane.


 “We defeated him in Court in South Africa, he then appealed, but we won the case. This time he demanded the Canadian authorities impound our Bombardier Q400 but we are ready for the battle,” said the minister.

The minister also expressed concerns over what he claimed as a tendency of Canadian authorities’ tendency of seizing Tanzania planes.

In November 2017 President John Magufuli wrote to the Canadian Prime Minister in regard to the seizure of Tanzania-owned airplane, Bombardier Q400.

The airplane, which was supposed to be delivered in July, is being held in Canada after the Tanzanian government failed to pay $38 million (equal to Sh83 billion) owed to United Kingdom Stirling Civil Engineering Limited due to a contractual dispute.

The firm won the tender to construct the Wazo Hill-Bagamoyo Road but the government terminated the deal without paying compensation. The firm, successfully sued Tanzania at the International Court of Arbitration in Montreal Canada. The plane was later released but no details were revealed on what terms were entered between the two parts for the plane release.