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Court likely to sanction Airtel over Procomtel deal

05 March 2014, 16:06Henry Ifeanyi

Lagos - The fortunes of Airtel Nigeria might take another hit as the Court of Appeal in Lagos prepares to rule on a garnishee order compelling the company to pay a N1.17billion judgment debt.

The N1.17 billion judgment debt was awarded against Airtel by a Lagos Court of Arbitration in a suit brought against the telecom firm by one of its contractors, Procomtel.

Procomtel had alleged that it had an agreement with Airtel for the construction of 28 cell sites in 2001, but the telecom company allegedly terminated the contract on March 2003.

Procomtel said it successfully executed the contract, and provided other services to Airtel, including importing of equipment, and that Airtel was indebted to it.

It said that failure of Airtel to pay the money agreed for the project had adversely affected and almost paralysed its business.

In its decision, the arbitration court upheld the argument of Procomtel and asked Airtel to pay the contract debt.

In a further step to make Airtel pay the money, Procomtel proceeded to a Lagos High Court with a garnishee order to compel banks with Airtel accounts to pay the money directly to its account.

The move was however partially successful as Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo compelled all Airtel bank account managers to furnish the court with details of the company account status.

Only 16 of the banks with Airtel bank accounts complied with the directive.

In a move to save the situation, Airtel has now approach an Appeal Court to stay execution of the Garnishee order made by the lower court.

The Appeal Court after receiving the appeal has said it would communicate a date for its ruling on the matter, to parties in the appeal.

–   CAJ News

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