Breach of contract: Nigerian shipping magnate dragged to court

Breach of contract: Nigerian shipping magnate dragged to court

Sunday, February 5, 2017 4:06 pm

The court has spoken!

By Akin Kuponiyi

Three limited liability companies, Omegacity Ventures limited, Oshomak Ventures Limited and Steel works Limited have dragged one of the foremost Nigeria Shipping magnates, Dr Taiwo Olayinka Afolabi and his company Sifax Group Nigeria limited before a Lagos high court over breach of contract of N90 million. The companies are also demanding for general damages of N50 million.

In a statement of claim filed before the court on behalf of the three companies by a Lagos lawyer Barrister Tunde Abioje, it was alleged that Sifax group Nigeria limited sought to buy a property at Ijora, Ebute -Metta and Surulere axis in Lagos State for its business, consequently, the claimants (the three companies) jointly got one property for the company at its choicy area at plots 5 and 6 now known as 212 Moshood Abiola Way Ijora, Lagos measuring approximately 13,800 square Meters, but Omegacity ventures introduced the property to the defendants via a letter dated 28th July, 2014 with all necessary documents attached and made it clear to them that she will be collecting professional fee of 10% of the purchase price of the property to which the defendants till date never disputed.

Thereafter the defendants were introduced to the owner of the property Lambert international Limited whose Managing director is Mr Lamberto Salvatori.

After serious bargaining, the two parties settled for N900million as purchase and selling price, thereafter the claimants demanded for their 10% commission in the sum of N90million being 10% of N900 million but the defendants refused and neglected to pay despite spirited demands.

Several meetings were arranged at the instance of the defendants in their office at 54 Warehouse Road Apapa for about seven times, but to no avail as Dr Taiwo Olayinka Afolabi was not always around for the scheduled meetings.

However on the 22nd of December, 2014 the claimants were greatly surprised to receive a letter from the defendants that they will only pay a paltry sum of two million out of the N90 million they were legally entitled to.

When it was clear that the defendants who are rich enough to pay the money have refused to pay, the claimants contacted the law firm of Tunde Abioje to take all necessary legal action to collect the money.

The Claimants claims against Dr Taiwo Olayinka Afolabi and his company Sifax Group Nigeria limited jointly and severally are as follows :

Immediate and unconditional payment of N90million being their 10% commission of N900 million.

25% interest rate on the said N9million from 3rd of November, 2014 until judgement is delivered and 30% interest rate from the date of judgement until the whole debt is fully paid.

The sum of N50 million as general damages jointly and severally against the two defendants for the stress, agony and trauma and untold hardship suffered by the claimants.

However in a statement of defence filed before the court on behalf of Dr Taiwo Afolabi and his company by Mr Emeka Opara, the defendants denied almost all the allegations of the claimants and stated that they only know Mr Kehinde Osobu of Omegacity Ventures Limited as a family friend of Dr Taiwo Afolabi and do not know the other two companies Oshomak ventures and Steel works Limited when negotiations with Mr Kehinde Osobu lasted.

The defendants addmited that Omegacity ventures introduced the property to them but they never accepted his 10% offer or any percent for any fee whether as agency fees or professional or whatever called.

The defendants, stated further that there were offer and counter offer, at a time the negotiations broke down. There and then, Omegacity abandoned them, thereafter the defendants found a way of approaching the property owners and commenced negotiation on their own leading to the purchase of the property.

The defendants conceded to hold further meeting with the defendant to further explore the possibility of reaching an agreement on how he is to be appreciated since he had already rejected the N1 million offered to him. The defendants increased their initial offer of N1 million to N2million but the offer was rejected as paltry, ridiculous and insulting.

The defendants therefore stated that the claimants have no valid claim whatsoever against the defendants, thereby praying the court to dismiss the claimants’ claims and award substantial costs against them in the defendants favour.

The claimants have already stated and closed their case. Consequently, the presiding Judge Femi Adeniyi has adjourned till 9th of May,2017 for the defence to argue their case .

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