Tanzania: Exim Bank Sued Over Illegal Account Freeze

International Tribunal for Rwanda's (ICTR) former in Charge of Defence and Detention Centre Alessandro Caldarone has sued Exim Bank Tanzania, demanding over 1bn/- compensation for alleged unlawful operation, freezing and blocking of his accounts. S.K. Law Chambers lawyers filed the suit at Dar es Salaam based High Court and was set for hearing before Lady Justice Zainabu Mruke yesterday, but the session was postponed to November 8, as the trial judge was attending criminal cases.

It's is alleged in the suit that since 2010, Dr Caldarone, who currently manages Nalen Investments (T) Company Limited, has been operating some personal and business accounts in US dollars and Euros at the bank.

On April 30, last year, Dr Caldarone, received email notifications from the bank's customer service department, showing some transactions both in the Euro and US dollar accounts.

It is stated that the plaintiff, an Italian Investor, had as of that date, not requested the bank for any reactivation of any of his bank accounts for any withdraw or transfer of funds from or to any of his accounts.

The plaintiff states that in response to the notifications, he immediately called the bank's Branch Manager in Tanga, where he operates his businesses and wrote emails to the customer service department informing them that he did not do any transaction on his accounts.

It is alleged that the notification mails for transfer and withdrawals in the accounts were reflected in the bank statement the plaintiff obtained from the bank, revealing a total of Euro 46,310.30 and 10,027.13 withdrawn from the accounts, while the same were dormant and had not been activated.

Having been duly informed about the transactions, the plaintiff physically visited the bank's Tanga branch to inquire about the missing money and withdraw the balance for his own use.

He was however informed that both of his bank accounts were blocked and was denied the money. The plaintiff argues that being a well known, respected and professional person in Tanzania and internationally, having occupied high responsibilities in the UN, the bank's move damaged his credibility due to failure to meet his statutory, commercial and social financial obligations.

In its written statement of defence, the bank has denied claims by Dr Caldarone, saying he has no any claim whatsoever over the defendant. The bank demanded proof of the plaintiff allegations or else the suit be dismissed.

Source: Tanzania Daily News.