Court orders Airtel to pay firm N4.88b as cumulative commissions
A Lagos High Court, Ikorodu has ordered Airtel Networks Limited to pay a firm, Plus Limited, the sum of N4.88 billion as the cumulative amount of commissions and other varieties of income and bonuses due to it.
Justice O. A. Williams gave the other in a suit No. LD/487/2012.
The claimant, Plus Limited was initially appointed by (Airtel Network Limited) the defendant as distributor and later as dealer and trade partner by various agreements.
The claimant, through its counsels, Mr Oludotun Oduwobi and Abdulazeez Jimoh told the court, that his client became exposed to cross-cluster invasion and suffered loss of sales after expending colossal resources to meet the defendant’s requirements of the whole Cluster Programme.
According to them, it happened because it’s cluster programme was based on faulty projections and wrong information supplied by the defendant.
The claimant added that, when he complained to the defendant, rather than taking remedial action it alleged that the claimant was indebted to it.
Unable to resolve the impasse, the defendant did an audit and got a forensic report, which revealed that it is the defendant that is indebted to the claimant.
But counsel to the defendant, Oloruntoba Obadofin in denying the claim, told the court that between 2001 and 2004 it used a different commission system, which was not based on call logs of subscribers.
According to him, in July 2005 to June 2007, the defendant introduced the VNL Dealer Pre-paid Scheme.
He explained further that from March 2008 to February 2009, the defendant introduced Revenue Share, whereby commission was to be paid quarterly on all charges carried out by subscribers in a Strategic Distribution Partner’s base.
The defendant also contend that the claimant did not dispute the monthly statements sent to it.
In her judgment, Justice Williams said: “I quite agree with the submission of learned counsel for the claimant in his written address, that counsel’s address is no substitute for evidence and that the oral testimony of DW1 materially contradicts the defendant’s pleading.
“Not only is it that there is no evidence of the averment in paragraph 6 of the 2nd amended statement of defence, that statement of account were sent regularly to the claimant, the fact is that DW1 testified that the account prepared by the defendant did not include any ORSC after 2007 after having admitted as confirmed by Exhibit C23 that ORSC was due in 2008.
“I do not find any merit in the argument of the defendant that the claimant is in any wise estopped from making its claim.”
The court also held that the claimant’s forensic auditor testified that he discovered that the defendant is indebted.
Her words: “It is very pertinent that the defendant had every opportunity to cross-examine CW1 and raised all the issues argued in its address but it chose not to.
“I find and hold that the claimant has proved its claim and the submission of the claimant that the presumption of withholding Evidence under section167 of the evidence Act operates against the defendant.”