WEDNESDAY November 9, 2022
By The Tranquility News Correspondent, Tanzania
A law firm based in Arusha, Tanzania, has given the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat a seven-day ultimatum to hand over an auctioned vehicle to his client Denis Wekesa.
Losorea Company Limited auctioned a number of vehicles on behalf of the EAC Secretariat on August 18, 2022.
The Maro and Company Advocates’ client had successfully bid for a Toyota Land Cruiser registration number TCD 302 EAC.
Wekesa had paid Sh48 million (about $20,690) for the vehicle and adhered to all procedures, but the EAC Secretariat has not handed it over to him since.
This is despite the successful bidder, who is the Air India pilot, being provided with a certificate of sale during the auction to enable him to pay all relevant taxes and change ownership of the vehicle.
On September 29, 2022, EAC Deputy Secretary General Steven Mlote informed Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) in a letter reference number F&A2/6/7 that Wekesa had successfully won a bid for the vehicle.
“The EAC Secretariat’s reluctance to hand over the vehicle to the successful bidder has caused a lot of disturbance to our client,” Maro and Company Advocates say in their notice reference number EELM/11/DN/VOL./11/2022.
The firm threatens to take legal measures in its notice dated November 1, 2022, should the executive arm of the bloc fail to honour the ultimatum.
“The vehicle should be in a condition observed shortly before the auction,” Maro and Company Advocates say in the notice it served the EAC Secretariat whose copy The Tranquility News has seen.
Wekesa himself wondered that other vehicles auctioned during the same day were already handed over to successful bidders.
“The EAC Secretariat has been dilly dallying for three months now, I never anticipated such a disturbance from a reputable regional institution,” he lamented.
The auctioneer admitted that Wekesa had won the bid for the vehicle and had accomplished all procedures for owning it.
“I received an e-mail from one of the EAC Secretariat officials directing me to return ignition keys of the auctioned vehicle without clarifying,” Losorea Director John Longolela explained.
The EAC Deputy Secretary General said he had been outside the country for a long time, vowing to resolve the conflict once he returns to his office in Arusha, the city housing headquarters of the bloc north of the country.
EAC is a regional intergovernmental organisation of seven partner states, namely Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.
The bloc is home to an estimated 283.7 million citizens, of whom over 30 per cent is urban population, with a land area of 4.8 million square kilometres and a combined Gross Domestic Product of $305.3 billion.
The EAC Treaty, which guides operations of the bloc, was signed on November 30, 1999, and entered into force on July 7, 2000, following its ratification by the original three partner states, namely Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
At the helm of the world’s fastest growing regional economic bloc is the EAC Summit which appoints a Secretary General nominated by a head of state under the principle of rotation to serve for five years.
Besides the summit, other main EAC organs are the Council of Ministers, the Coordinating Committee, sectoral committees, the East African Court of Justice, the East African Legislative Assembly and the secretariat.
The bloc boasts having nine institutions, including the Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency, the East African Competition Authority and the East African Development Bank.
Others are the East African Health Research Commission, the East African Kiswahili Commission, the East Africa Science and Technology Commission, the Inter-University Council for East Africa, the Lake Victoria Basin Commission and the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation.
Unlike other regional economic communities globally, which end with customs union, common market and monetary union, the EAC aspires to ultimately attain political union.
The EAC heads of state had in May 2017 adopted the Political Confederation as a transitional model ahead of the envisaged last pillar of the integration process — Political Federation.
The Confederation Constitution currently being drafted requires the EAC partner states to agree on areas to coordinate centrally, including trade and foreign policy, while other areas will be conducted by respective national governments.
With Customs Union and Common Market protocols in place, a law establishing monetary institute has been passed and signed to guide the establishment of the EAC Central Bank which would, in turn, see single currency introduced in the region. Also passed and signed is a law establishing the EAC Statistics BureauΩ