Contractor Drags​ UCTH​ Magt. To Court Over N68m​ Contract Debt

Posted on December 16, 2020

Mr Obi James Achara, the managing Director, Obi Achara Nigeria Ltd. has dragged management of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) to a state High Court presided over by Justice Angela Obi over non payment of N68 million contract sum allegedly owed the contractor for construction of Isolation centre.

According to Obi Achara, his ordeal with the management of the​ University of Calabar Teaching Hospital began​ in November 2016, when he was awarded​ a N68m​ contract for construction of a centre for emerging pathogens research and management in the hospital.​

Achara said that upon completion of the contract according to specification, management of UCTH reneged on agreement when it came to payment of the N68m contract sum and the MD of Obi Achara dragged management of UCTH to court so as to​ get his contract money.

The matter is listed as suit No. HC/316/2020 between Obi Achara Nigeria Ltd as first claimant, Mr. Obi James Achara 2nd claimant and University of Calabar Teaching Hospital UCTH management Board and two others,.

The claimant averred that around 15 November, 2016, the defendant awarded to him it a contract for construction of a centre for emerging pathogens research and management.

Achara claimed that even when the centre was subsequently upgraded​ and used as an isolation centre to cater for patients of coronavirus, management of UCTH refused to defray the debt.

In a Writ of Summons/Statement of Claim, the claimants stated that on November 15, 2016 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, stressing that​ ​ despite issuing​ an Interim Payment Certificate for the sum of N20,021,710.20, dated August 6, 2017the defendants​ paid N7m only as at the time of going to court.​

At the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, the claimant revealed that the defendants requested the claimant to hand over the centre and this was done because of the strategic importance of the centre in the war against the pandemic.

“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,” the claimants said.​

The claimants are demanding the sum of N56,298,912.72 as outstanding sum owed them by the defendants; N3.430,302.225 as payment of five per cent retention fee; N100 million as general damages and N5 million being the cost of the suit.

Counsel to claimant,​ in his defense when the case came up in court, Barr. E.L.Akpama of Mba Ukweni & Associates, told the court that they have served the defendants with their written processes and are waiting for them to file their defence.​

Akpama stated that they will go ahead and file form for pre-trial conference and to enable him​ ask for a date for the conference.​

Counsel to defendants, Bar. Volunteer Itam acknowledged that they are yet to file their defence but have filed their Notice of Conditional Appearance.
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