By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, on Thursday, okayed hearing on an appeal a firm, Zedici Capital Ltd, filed to recover about N3.8billion it invested in Obudu Mountain resort.
The government of Cross River State and the Attorney-General of the State were cited as Respondents in the appeal the firm filed through its team of lawyers led by Mr. Moses Ofeoshi.
The appellant is seeking to set-aside an Abuja high court judgement which in 2019, refused to affirm arbitral award to it with respect to the N3.8bn it invested in the Obudu resort in Cross River State which it was engaged to remodel.
The firm maintained that trial Justice Angela Otaluka of the FCT High Court erred in law when she held that the replacement of the arbitrator for Cross River State after the withdrawal of its previous counsel, Mr. Nella Andem-Rabana, SAN, was not in compliance with the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 2004.
In its four grounds of appeal, the firm argued that the high court misdirected itself to presuppose that it appointed an arbitrator for the Respondents after their arbitrator withdrew.
“The trial court fails to take cognizance of the relevant provisions of the law relating to the waiver of irregularities in arbitration proceedings,” it averred.
The appellant told the appellate court that it invoked the arbitration clause after the Cross River State government breached a 25-year concession agreement it entered into with it on March 1, 2018, for the rehabilitation, remodelling, finance, operation, and transfer of the mountain resort in Obanliku, under a Public Private Partnership, PPP, model.
The appellant averred that as a result of the agreement, it invested N3.8bn in fixing all the facilities and providing infrastructure and security at the resort and the host Becheve community.
It faulted the trial court for holding that the Respondents were denied the opportunity to participate in the arbitration proceedings after the withdrawal of their arbitrator.
Meanwhile, though the appellate court initially slated the matter for hearing, however, the matter could not proceed owing to inability of the court to form a quorum.
Clerks of the court informed parties that a new hearing date would be communicated to them.