February 18, 2021

UCTH N68m Isolation Centre Contract debt: out of court settlement fails

…as court issues hearing notice to UCTH  Mgt

By Ike Uchechukwu – Calabar

Following the break down of settlement talks between the Management of University Calabar Teaching HospitaL,UCTH and. Contractor ,Obi Achara Nigeria Ltd, a High Court sitting in Calabar yesterday  issued a consent to pre trial and hearing notice to management Board of the Hospital.

This follows a break down of settlement talks between a contractor, Obi Achara Nigeria Ltd and the hospital management Board

Vanguard learned that the failed out of court settlement talks was about the contract sum in the tune of N68 million after the contractor ( Obi Achara Nigeria Ltd) built an isolation centre at the hospital .

The court had earlier stood down the N68 million naira case so as to allow parties proceed on out of court settlement since the inception of the matter late 2020.

Following failed amicable settlement out of court settlement granted parties by the court  months ago, James OBi Achara ,Managing Director , representing Obi Achara Limited( claimants in the matter) approached the court again, and prayed the court that the matter be return to court for hearing due to their inability to amicably resolved the matter out of court.

The presiding judge, Hon Justice Angela Obi, in suit No. HC/316/2020 gave a go ahead for the matter be brought back to court for hearing next month but ordered that the defendants be put on notice.

The court however adjourned the matter to March 9,2021 and urged counsel to claimant Eta Akpama Esq from Mba Ukeni’s chambers to put the defendants on notice .

Counsel to Obi Achara Nigeria Ltd,Eta Akpama Esq they were in court to let it know that settlement talks had failed .

“We came to court to let court know that the out of court settlement had broken down and called for matter to be adjourned for hearing.

“We attempted  to settle out of court and unfortunately, it failed, so we had no option than proceed to hear the matter so as to give a judgement one way or the other.

“Court has ordered that we put them on notice on the next adjournment date”. Akpama said.

The saga with the hospital commenced in  November 2016, management of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital UCTH Board awarded a N68m contract to a contractor ,Obi Achara Nigeria Ltd and Anor, for construction of a centre emerging pathogen research and management.

However, the management of the hospital has not been able to keep up in their commitment despite the fact that the contract was carried out substantially.

Vanguard learned that at the instance of  the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital requested that the Centre be handed over to them because of the pivotal role it would play in the  management of COVID-19.

Findings also showed that the contractor agreed without hesitation  and handed over the facility to them(UCTH) in good faith and interest of humanity without getting payment .