From Godwin Tsa Abuja
Court of Appeal, Abuja ,will this week, begin the hearing of the matter between a private firm, Zedici Capital Ltd and the Cross River State Government over a N3.8bn contract debt. The appellant, Zedici Capital Ltd, is the firm which remodelled the Obudu Mountain Resort in Cross River State, now a subject of litigation.
At the last sitting, proceedings were stalled due to inability of the court to form a quorum. High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), had in 2019 refused to affirm the arbitral award to Zedici Ltd., over its investment of N3.8bn in the resort. The court in its judgment held that the replacement of the arbitrator for the state after the withdrawal of its arbitrator, Nella Andem-Rabana, was not in compliance with the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 2004.
Zedici has appealed to the court of Appeal while strongly stating that the court erred in law when it held same in favour of the Cross River State Government.
It is contending through its counsel, Moses Ofeoshi, that flowing from an agreement between both parties, they invested a total sum of N3.8bn for the renovation and reconstruction of the Obudu Resort.
They stated that the funds were used in fixing all the facilities and providing infrastructures and security at the resort and host community.
But the government has opposed the Appeal stating that the arbitration tribunal was not properly constituted and could not have given a valid award. The state government also stated that the withdrawal of the arbitrator denied them the opportunity to participate in the arbitration proceeding.
Court documents revealed that the Cross River State Governor had on September 12, 2017 signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between Zedici Capital Limited headed by the Honorary Consulate of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to Nigeria, Dr. Levi O. Wilson Odoe (Hon. Consul), to reactivate the Obudu Ranch Resort in Obaniku Local Government Area of the state.
After three months, the state government signed another MOU with Mac Creeds and Tom Consortium for the upgrade of Tinapa Lakeside Hotel in Calabar and Obudu Ranch Resort.
The Government of Cross River State thereafter, terminated its contract with Zedici Capital, the company it earlier engaged to run the resort.