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Firms seek to quash judgment in N4b contract dispute 

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A foreign firm, Eutawa Construction Company Incorporated, United States of America, and its Nigeria partner, Eutawa Construction & Development Nigeria Limited have jointly filed a Notice of Appeal challenging the decision of the FCT High Court, which barred them from executing the over N4 billion contract of refurbishing the Akure branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
   
The appellants are asking the court to enter judgment against the respondent to cause it to pay them the sum of N12,945,320,000 as compensation and damages for flagrant breach of the contract.

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Justice Olukayode Adeniyi had on November 19, 2020, delivered judgment in favour of the CBN and described the claimants’ suit on damages as spurious and lacking in merit and substance. 
   
In the notice of appeal marked, FCT/HC/CV/25/18, Mr J.M Shishi, counsel to the appellants requested the appellate court to discountenance the ruling of the lower court on six grounds.
   
Shishi said the judgment was clearly against the weight of evidence brought before the court, as according to him, the judge erred in law by holding that his clients failed to prove that the defendant (CBN) entered into such a contract with them.
 
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He argued that the court turned blind eyes to the documentary evidence, which indicated that the claimants were in February 2020 awarded a contract for the refurbishment of the defendant’s branch office in Akure, Ondo State, at a total cost of N4,013,927,628.67.
   
Counsel to the appellants averred that the judge also erred in law in failing to determine the issue of whose responsibility it was to sign and provide contract award certificate among others.

Shishi, therefore, said that the court abdicated on its responsibilities to meticulously attend to the contested issues, adding that it was this failure that led the judge to decide against the suit.
   
The Guardian recalls that the claimants, Eutawa had in suit CV/1147/14 approached the lower court for a redress against CBN’s clear breach of contract by denying the claimants right to execute the contract after due agreement was entered by the parties. 

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The notice of appeal further revealed that it was a case of “robbing Peter to pay Paul’’ as the contract breach happened after the claimants were formally handed over the sites sometime in March, 2011 to commence work.
   
It further averred that the claimants had committed resources to preparing working drawings and mobilizing to site, while they also caused their bankers to issue Performance Guarantee and Advance Payment Guarantee to the defendant in order to demonstrate their financial capability to execute the contract. 
   
According to the claimants, after they had put all machineries in motion to commence execution of the contract, the defendant sometime in May 2011, informed them that it received a letter dated 11/04/2011, purportedly written by the claimants’ representative to inform the defendant of their incapability to perform the contract.
 
The claimants promptly denied and disclaimed the attorney of such person who issued the letter and went ahead to further reassure the defendant of their readiness and capacity to execute the contract.
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According to the notice of appeal, the defendant, not being satisfied with the claimants’ representations, chooses to believe the letter and therefore, causes the contract to be formally terminated by letter of 11/10/2011 and proceeds to re-award the contract to another company.
   
Consequently, the claimant sought an order declaring that a valid contract for the refurbishment of CBN Akure Branch Building between the Plaintiff Company and the Defendant exists.
   
They also sought an order declaring that the defendant was in breach of the said contract for the refurbishment of the CBN Akure Branch Building.
   
They further sought an order for special damages in the total sum of N1,745,324,000.00).

They also asked for an order for general damages in the sum of Five Billion Naira (N5,000,000,000) and an order for compensation for loss of anticipated profits in the sum of N1,200,000,000 respectively.
   
The companies further prayed for an order for N5,000,000,000 and order for interest pursuant to the Central Bank of Nigeria maximum commercial interest rate and 30 per cent interest on judgement sum from the date of judgement to the date of a final liquidation.

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