From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) has asked a Calabar high court to strike out its case with an Isoaltion Centre contractor, Obi Achara Limited.
The application was made as part of the ongoing civil litigation between the Management Board of the Hospital and the contractor.
The parties fell out over the contract for the construction of an Isolation Centre in the institution which was completed and handed over to the hospital.
Earlier, the court admitted 17 exhibits against the hospital and commenced a pre-trial, but the defendant has applied for a discontinuance of the case alleging an abuse of court processes.
The lead counsel for the hospital, Dafe Diegbe, said the case is similar to another one which was not properly terminated and it ammounts to an abuse of court processes.
‘The suit you are seeing in this court is similar to another filled in another court,’ Diegbe said.
‘They did not properly terminate the suit in the other court so by not doing that the one filled here is an abuse of court processes.’
Another counsel to the hospital, Volunteer Itam, said the defendant had made part payment to the claimant for the Isolation Centre and the sum paid is not in dispute.
However, counsel for the claimant, Eta Akpama, said they were only served the motion the previous day by the close of work, adding that it is still within their time to respond and they intend to reply to the defendants’ application to strike out the matter.
‘They are alleging that the matter is an abuse of court processes because there is a similar matter somewhere but we are not aware of it,’ he said.
‘This is a contract for a building, they have paid some money and this building has been handed over to you.
‘You have to understand that they are yet to file their statement of defence. So, as far as we are concerned, they have no defence against our claim to date and we see this as delay tactics.’
The presiding judge, Justice Angela Obi, adjourned the case to April 22 for the parties to continie argument on the motion to strike out the case, advising them to settle all grey areas before the next sitting.