A’ Ibom govt, bizman in court over consultancy fees

Isaac Job, Uyo

Akwa Ibom state government and a businessman Arc. Ubokutom Nyah are before the state High court in Ikot Ekpene local government area with Landsea Construction and Engineering Limited over alleged refusal to pay the businessman his consultancy fees in the sum of N10,279,391.

In suit number HT/2/2023, the State Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, and Landsea Construction and Engineering Limited, were joined as first and second Defendants/Respondents respectively.

Counsel to the Applicant, Andem Ndem in a motion on notice filed on 7th March 2023 prayed the Court for an Order compelling the 2nd defendant to pay the applicant the sum of N10.279, 391 only, which they had admitted in his letter dated April 27, 2021.

He also prayed the Court for an Order compelling the 1st defendant to cause the 2nd defendant to pay his client the admitted sum.

In an affidavit in support of the motion, the applicant, Arc Nyah, doing business under the name ‘Otto Trinity Studios, noted that the 1st defendant/Respondent had in March 2014 through a letter from Commissioner for Special Duties appointed him as a resident consultant to render architectural consultancy services to the Hotel complex then under construction at Ikot Ekpene, which he accepted.

“I state that upon my successful completion of service to the 1st Defendant/ Respondent, I submitted my bill/invoice in the sum of N1, 025, 838, 385.96 (One billion, twenty-five million, Eight hundred and thirty-eight thousand, three hundred and eighty -five Naira, ninety-six kobo only, via a letter dated 18th January 2016.

“I know that the 1st Respondent in reaction to my bill/invoice for payment of professional fees dated 18th January 2016, unilaterally introduced the 2nd Respondent, into the contract to handle payment of professional fees due to me for unknown reasons.

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“I protested against the forceful injection of the 2nd Respondent into my bilateral contract with the 1st Respondent and the consequential financial shortchange resulting from this strange procedure.

“I state that I carefully audited all payments made to me by the 2nd defendant/respondent and discovered the following short-payments which cumulatively resulted in the shortfall of N42, 083, 853.37 (Forty-two million, Eight-three thousand, Eight hundred and fifty -three Naira, thirty-seven Kobo) only.

“I state further that I demanded the refund of the aforestated short-payments from the 1st Defendant/Respondent via my letter dated 22nd March 2021. I also know that the 1st Defendant by their letter dated April 1, 2021, forwarded my protest letter to the 2nd defendant/Respondent for reaction.

“But the 2nd Defendant/Respondent by their letter dated 27th, April 2021, responded to 1st Defendant/Respondent and admitted that they actually shortchanged me to the tune of Ten million, Two hundred and seventy-nine thousand, three hundred and Ninety-one Naira, thirty-one Kobo (N10, 279, 391.31) only.

“That on January 10, 2023, I wrote a letter to 1st Respondent herein and demanded that they prevail on 2nd Respondent who is their agent to pay me the admitted sum but they refused.

“That except this honourable court orders the Defendants/Respondents to pay me this admitted sum, they will continue in their intransigence”

Meanwhile, Landsea Construction & Engineering Ltd in a letter addressed to the Commissioner Ministry of Special Duties & Aviation Akwa Ibom State, via the Permanent Secretary, and dated April 27, 2021; a copy made available to newsmen in Uyo on Thursday had admitted that the consultant was shortchanged to the tune of N10.279, 391million only.

“At no point was there any intention to ‘defraud’ any consultant, definitely not myself Landsea that also got shortchanged,” he said

The matter comes up for hearing on 11th, April 2023.

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