Betam sues CITCC over Tanzania network backbone deal breach

Betam Communications Tanzania has asked the High Court to order state-owned China International Telecommunication Construction Corporation (CITCC) to pay it TZS 20 billion in compensation for allegedly breaching a contract relating to the installation of the fibre optic cable network in Tanzania, reports Daily News. The Betam Company, under directorship of Ethiopian Terrefe Ras-Work, is suing CITCC and CITCC Tanzania, demanding several reliefs. Ras-Work is the former Head of Africa Division and Policy Advisor of the International Telecommunication Union.

His company claims USD 6.26 million from CITCC as agency commission, compound interest at the rate of 10 percent per annum until the date of suit, which is USD 2.22 million for the period of delay, the interest, and general and special damages, among others.

Betam's advocate Semu Anney told the trial judge that there was an agreement between the parties in relation to the installation of National ICT Broadband Infrastructure Backbone Networks in Tanzania. He submitted that the averments as to the matter were pleaded in the plaint and specifically admitted on the written statement of defence by the two Chinese companies, who are defendants in the suit in question for the execution of commission agency agreement for the project in the country.

Among Betam's obligations as per the contract were identification of the project opportunity in Tanzania for CITCC, negotiation of a Memorandum of Understanding and cosigning with CITCC and Tanzania, and advice on technical, financial and business issues.

Betam Company also promoted the interests of the CITCC in particular and China in general with Tanzania government officials for the benefit of the two countries and provided support in the implementation of the project as and when required. CITCC had to consider the project opportunity identified by Betam, evaluate the project and take appropriate actions, consult with Betam on policy matters to ensure its successful implementation and pay appropriate compensation to Betam as per the agreement.

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