The Tanzanian Government has lashed out at Canada and warned its order book with Canadian firms could be in jeopardy after a Canadian court seized a factory-new Dash 8-400 ahead of its delivery to state-owned lessor TGF - Tanzania Government Flight (Dar es Salaam) last week.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement confirmed the seizure order had been granted to Hermanus Steyn, an 86-year-old farmer whose bean-and-seed farm along with other assets were confiscated by the Tanzanian government in 1982. Steyn was eventually awarded USD36 million in compensation in the 1990s but was only paid USD20 million. The outstanding USD16 million was never paid but continued to accrue interest leaving the total amount due at USD33 million.

Through his lawyers in various jurisdictions, Steyn has attempted to recover the outstanding monies owed through means including the seizure of assets owned by the Tanzanian government. Given they are state-owned enterprises, Steyn has attempted to secure TGF assets most recently an A220-300 at Johannesburg O.R. Tambo in August. The jet in question, 5H-TCH (msn 55047), was only released after a South African court ruled it did not have the jurisdiction to hear the case. As a precautionary measure, Air Tanzania (TC, Dar es Salaam) suspended its Johannesburg route shortly after the ruling was issued in early September.

In April last year, TGF's third Dash 8-400, 5H-TCE (msn 4559), was seized by Canadian contractor Stirling Civil Engineering following the Tanzanian government's unwillingness to settle a USD38.7 million debt awarded to Sterling by the International Court of Arbitration in 2010. The case pertained to a cancelled USD25 million civil engineering contract. The turboprop was eventually released but no formal statement ever issued on the terms of a settlement reached.

In this third, latest seizure, Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Palamagamba John Kabudi, said the Canadian High Commissioner had been summoned to Dodoma to explain Canada's role in what he termed these "imperialist actions".

"[..] Tanzania recognizes that, during this period that it has decided to take concrete steps to strengthen its economy, there are foreigners working to thwart the effort using domestic and foreign diplomats, and that it will not allow such actions to thwart Tanzania's economic recovery efforts," he said.

According to Kabudi, the latest Dash 8-400 was to have arrived at Dar es Salaam on November 28. However, given these repeated court orders, Tanzania may reconsider its future fleeting plans. It is recalled that TGF has one more Dash 8-400 on order from De Havilland Aircraft of Canada and two A220-300s on order from Airbus Canada.

"So we think, the President [John Magufuli] will advise that if Canada continues with such actions, they are not the only aircraft manufacturer; we made no mistake in buying aircraft from Canada but even Brazil makes planes," the minister said hinting at a possible turn to Embraer.