Nigerian startup sues foreign firms over alleged breach of €1.3m contract
A Nigerian startup firm, Agriconnekt Services, has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and as well, taken two international agencies and a Nigerian firm to a high court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, over an alleged breach of contract.
When the matter came up for hearing, the court adjourned the matter to May 8, 2023 for pretrial owing to absence of counsel to the first, second and third defendants.
In the petition and suit, Agriconnekt is seeking $450,000 in damages as well as the payment of an additional $758,000, which the firm claimed was indicated in a budget to be allotted to it from a project called ‘Smartdevelopmenthack’, organised by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development alongside team Europe and its partners and implemented by GIZ—also known as the German Agency for International Cooperation and Development.
The firm alleged that Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, a German agency simply identified as GIZ; a United States (U.S.) non-profit firm, Mercy Corps; and Nigeria’s CoAmana, breached a contract and diverted €1.3 million, an amount which Agriconnekt has a share.
In a statement by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Brain Iweh, it said: “After an intensive hackathon online, Agriconnekt emerged as one of the nine global winners but GIZ, in collaboration with Mercy Corps, replaced Agriconnekt with a company called ‘Coamana’, which was never one of the nine global winners selected for the project after the intensive competition.”
It added that eight global winners in other countries received their funds and had started implementing their various projects, but Agriconnekt was denied the funds as one of the duly selected global winners of the competition and was removed for various reasons.
Iweh said the alleged reasons given for Agriconnekt’s removal was that the firm might not be able to manage the resources and deliver the project being an early-stage startup.