By RICHARD NDOMA, Calabar
A High Court sitting in Calabar Wednesday issued a consent to pre trial and hearing notice to management Board of the University Of Calabar Teaching Hospital UCTH
This follows a break down of settlement talks between a contractor, Obi Achara Nigeria Ltd and the hospital management Board where the hospital failed pay him a N68m contract sum after he undertook a contracts with the hospital for the construction of an Isolation centre.
The court had earlier stood down the N68 million naira case so as to allow parties proceed on out of court settlement.
However, following a breakdown of talks, in the out of court settlement granted the parties by the court some months ago, Obi representing Obi Achara Limited( claimants in the matter) approached the court again, and prayed the court that the matter be return to court for hearing due to their inability to amicably resolved the matter out of court.
The presiding judge, Hon Justice Angela Obi, in suit No. HC/316/2020 gave a nod for the matter be returned to court for hearing next month but ordered the defendants be put on notice.
The court however latter adjourned the matter to March 9,2021 and urged counsel to claimant Eta Akpama Esq from Mba Ukeni’s chambers to put the
defendants on notice as either of the parties in the matter was yet to file appeal in court due to agreement reached by parties involved to do out of court settlement.
Eta Akpama Esq, counsel to Obi Achara Limited said, “We came to court to let court know that settlement out of court had broken down and called for matter to be adjourned for hearing.
“We attempt to settled out of court and unfortunately, it failed, so we had no option than proceed to hear the matter so as to give a judgement one way or the other.
“Court has ordered that we put them on notice on the next adjournment date”. Akpama maintained.
Problem with the hospital began when in November 2016, management of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital UCTH Board awarded a N68m contract to a contractor Obi Achara Nigeria Ltd and Anor, for construction of a centre emerging pathogen research and management.
However, the management of the hospital failed to follow through in their commitment despite the fact that the contract was substantially executed and just 7 million was paid by the hospital management out of the contract sum.
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 claimants maintains that 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.
Through this conduct, he said the Defendant have caused the Claimants untold hardship, suffering and loss of goodwill, integrity and irreparable hardship.