By Ike Uchechukwu
The Managing Director Obi Achara Nigeria Limited , Mr. James Obi has taken the Management Board of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital,UCTH, over non payment of his contract fee signed by his company and the institution on the isolation Centre at the Hospital .
A Calabar High Court sitting in alabar and presided over by Justice Angela Obi who had the matter, adjourned it till January 14, 2021. Suit No.HC 316/2020 between Obi Achara Nigeria Limited, Mr. Obi James Achara (Claimants) and University of Calabar Teaching Hospital Board, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), The Chief Medical director, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH,in (Defendants).
Vanguard gathered that even though the edifice was not originally for COVID-19 Isolation centre, but later converted, it was initially built for Ebola and Lassa fever and other viral dieases but the advent of COVID-19 made the hospital to appeal for the keys which was hand over to them by the contractor.
In their Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim, the claimants stated that on November 15,20116 UCTH awarded the company a contract for the construction of a Centre for Emerging Pathogens Research and Management (which now serves as Covid-19 Isolation Centre in the hospital) at the cost of N68,606,044.50 million naira only.
The claimants stated that despite issuing an Interim Payment Certificate for the sum of N20,021,710,20, dated August 6,2017the defendants have only paid seven million naira only as at the time of going to court.
At the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, the claimant revealed that the defendants requested the claimant to hand over the centre and this was done because of the strategic importance of the centre in the war against the pandemic.
“The claimants state that the conduct of the defendants who have now put the centre into full use without making payments to the claimants is mischievous, totally unjust and unacceptable.
“These conducts of the Defendants have caused the Claimants untold hardship, suffering and loss of goodwill, integrity and irreparable hardship.
The claimants are demanding the sum of N56,298,912.72ndem million as outstanding sum owed the claimants by the defendants; N3.430,302,225 million as payment of five per cent retention fee; N100 million as general damages and N5 million being the cost of the suit.
When the case came up in court 11,B E.L.Akpama Esq of Mba Ukweni & Associates, (Claimants’ Counsel) told the court that they have served the defendants with their written processes and are waiting for them to file their defences.
Akpama said the will go ahead and file form for pre trial conference and will be asking for a date for the conference and if the defendants filed their defences before then there will be no problem
Barrister Volunteer Itam , who appeared for the defendants, acknowledged that unfortunately they are yet to file their defences but have filed their Notice of Conditional Appearance.