From Judex Okoro, Calabar
Trouble is brewing at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) as a contractor who built the institution’s isolation centre has taken its management to court, claiming N100 million as general damages.
The contractor, Mr Obi James Achara, had earlier threatened to forcefully shut the centre as it was forcefully taken over from him without UCTH management fulfilling the terms of the contractual agreement.
In a suit between Obi Achara Nigeria Limited and Mr Achara Obi (claimants) and the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital Management Board, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) and The Chief Medical Director, UCTH, (all defendants), the claimants are claiming against the defendants jointly and severally include the sum of N100,000,000) as general damages, N56,298,912.72) being outstanding sum owed the claimants by the defendants as agreed by both parties and N3,430,302,225 being payment for of 5% retention fee.
In their Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim, the claimants stated that on November 15, 2016 the 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, 2017, the defendants have only paid N7m only as at the time of going to court.
The claimants disclosed that the defendants requested them to hand over the centre due to the outbreak of the pandemic he acceded to it because of the strategic importance in combating the COVID-19.
According to the claimants, ‘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. This conducts of the Defendants have caused the Claimants untold hardship, suffering and loss of goodwill, integrity and irreparable hardship.’
When the case came up at Calabar High Court 11 and presided over by Justice Angela Obi, Eta Akpama 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 they will go ahead and file form for a 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
When the case came up in court EL 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.
Volunteer Itam, Esq, who appeared for the defendants, acknowledged that unfortunately they are yet to file their defence but have filed their notice of conditional appearance
After listening to both parties’ counsels, Justice Angela Obi adjourned till January 14, 2021.