Sharing is caring!

Femi FalanaThe Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt yesterday struck out the appeal filed by a United States-based multinational corporation with a strong presence in Nigeria, General Electric Company against the judgment debt of $5.5 million awarded against it for breach of contract by the Rivers State High Court. In Suit No RV/397/2010 filed at the Rivers State High Court on May 2010, an oil servicing company, Q Oil & Gas Services Limited had sued General Electric for breach of contract arising from the recruitment of some expatriate staff.

In the judgment delivered by the trial judge, Justice R. Ahiakwo on September 29, 2010, the defendant, General Electric Company was found liable for breach of contract and ordered to pay $5.520,000 as special and general damages to the plaintiff. Aggrieved by the judgment of the Port Harcourt High Court, General Electric Company headed for the Court of Appeal where it prayed that the judgment be vacated and set aside.

However, the application for stay of execution of the judgment pending appeal was granted on the condition that a bank guarantee for the judgment debt be deposited with the High Court by General Electric. But the three applications subsequently filed by General Electric for variation of the order of conditional stay were thrown out by the Court of Appeal.

Yesterday at the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, General Electric applied through its counsel, Mr Tunde Olowu to regularize the defective substantive appeal filed at the registry of the High Court by paying additional fees. But the move was strongly opposed by Mr Femi Falana SAN for Q Oil & Gas Services Limited who contended that the Notice of appeal was materially defective and could not be cured by a court order. The Senior Advocate of Nigeria argued that since there is no provision for installment payment of filing fees, the Court should strike out the appeal. In a short ruling read by the Presiding Judge, Justice M.L Tsamiya, the Court of Appeal upheld the submissions of Mr Falana SAN and dismissed the motion for payment of additional filing fees by General Electric. Consequently, the substantive appeal filed by the multinational company against the judgment debt of $5.5 million was struck out.

It could be recalled that the GE had in November last year, asked a United States Court in Detroit, Michigan, not to recognize the Nigerian money judgment on the grounds of alleged corruption and lack of due process in Nigeria. GE had argued before the US Court that the Nigerian judgment “was rendered under a judicial system that does not provide impartial tribunals or procedures compatible with the requirements of due process of law and susceptible to official manipulation”. The US filing by GE was condemned by some concerned Nigerians who urged the Federal Government to stop patronizing General Electric in the oil and gas sector.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *