The High Court in Dar es Salaam has overturned a lower court’s ruling that ordered telco giant MIC Tanzania Limited (Tigo) to pay Bongo Flava musicians Hamis Mwinjuma alias Mwana FA and Ambwene Yessayah alias AY about Ksh100 million in damages for copyright infringement.
Lady Justice Joacquine De-Mello agreed with Tigo that the Ilala District Court did not have jurisdiction to handle the multimillion case.
The High Court observed that the District Court could only hear cases with a monetary interest not higher than Tsh300 million (approximately Ksh14 million).
Ilala District Court senior resident magistrate Juma Hassan had on April 11, 2016, directed Tigo to pay the artistes after he was satisfied that the mobile service provider used their songs – ‘Usije Mjini’ and ‘Dakika Moja’ – as caller tunes without their consent or agreement.
Mwana FA and AY had sued Tigo for Tsh4.3 billion (about Sh206 million), which the district court reduced to Tsh2.1 billion (Sh100 million).
Following the high court decision, the lawyer representing Tigo, Mr Rosan Mbwambo, said he will write to Mwana FA and AY to ask them to return the money to his client.
“If they don’t heed to the request, we’ll file an application to seek a court order to attach their properties. If necessary, we will ask the court to order that they be arrested and committed to civil prison,” said Mr Mbwambo.