By Magnus Effiong
The High Court 11 in Calabar has adjourned a suit between the Obi Achara & Co and the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) over an alleged refusal of the hospital to pay N68 million to the contracting firm for the construction of COVID 19 isolation centre for UCTH.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, Mr Obi Achara (claimant) had dragged the hospital management to court over the matter.
The claimant had earlier presented 16 exhibits against the defendants to back up his claims before closing its case while the defendant applied for a motion to strike out the case.
The case, which is before Honourable Justice Angela Obi, in Suit No: HC/316/2020, came up for hearing on Wednesday, but was again adjourned to October 15, 2021.
Presiding Judge, Obi, had earlier fixed 12th of July 2021 to consider the respondent’s motion but the matter suffered a delay as one of the parties had a matter outside jurisdiction.
The matter was adjourned to October 6th but was again put off till October 15, 2021 to enable the claimants respond to the rejoinder presented by the respondents.
The respondent was represented in Court by Dafe Diegbe as well as Minika Efa, a legal officer in the institution while Barr Mba Ukweni (SAN) led a team of three other lawyers for the claimant.
In a chat with Journalists shortly after the case was adjourned, lead counsel to Obi Achara and Co, Barr Mba Ukweni (SAN), said “the UCTH Counsel had filed a motion to have the case struck out.
“He had said the matter being filed was an abuse of court process since, according to him, the same matter is in another court. But this is not true because there is no other case regarding this matter in existence in any court in Nigeria except the one here in this court.
“He had commenced arguing his motion which we responded to when he now brought out a reaction to out own motion, that is a rejoinder on the part of law which he did not serve us.
“And, I look at it and said since the document is voluminous, I will need time to study it because there could be issues on the point of law to counter. That is why we adjourned.
“What the hospital’s Counsel did was to go and apply to release a matter that was struck out already. As we speak, there is no other pending matter in court over this issue.
“He cannot bring an application to release a matter that was struck out since last year and use it as basis to strike out this one that is currently running. In the eye of the law and as far as we are concerned, that matter he is trying to excavate does not exist.”
By Magnus Effiong