The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld its earlier judgement, ordering the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to pay $22.6 million (N8.1billion) in damages to BCE Consulting Engineers over a failed Consultancy Service Contract.
The NNPC through its counsel, approached the Supreme Court seeking a review of the July 5, 2019 judgement over an alleged error of facts. Judicial Review is a procedure provided under the Supreme Court Civil Procedure Rules for review of extant judgments.
The counsel argued that the court did not hear their preliminary objection and that their cross appeal was dismissed with hearing. However, Justice C. C. Nweze, while delivering the judgement dismissed the appeal, saying `this apex court cannot be cajoled with this kind of application, it’s an abuse of justice’. Nweze, therefore, awarded costs of N500,000 to be paid personally by counsel to the NNPC.
Meanwhile, BCE in its counter-affidavit requested the court to disregard NNPC’s application but urged it to uphold the award of the N8.1 billion judgement sum because NNPC breached an agreement with it. In July 1999, BCE filed an action at the Federal High Court, Lagos in Suit No. FHC/L/C/I316/2000 against NNPC following the Corporation’s termination of the contract at the directive of the Federal Government.
On March 7, 2002, the Court directed NNPC to pay BCE the sum of 22. 6 million dollars in damages for the illegal cancellation of the agreement. The Court of Appeal directed NNPC to deposit the Judgment Sum of 22.6million dollars into court as condition for appeal to which NNPC complied.
On June 9, 2011, the Court upheld NNPC’s appeal on grounds that the Federal High Court lacked jurisdiction over disputes arising from simple contracts. On June 13, 2011, BCE applied to the Supreme Court to set aside the previous judgment in favour of the Corporation.
Upon the delivery of the judgment of the Supreme Court dated July 5, 2019, NNPC alongside its counsel, Babalakin and Co reviewed same and had good reason to believe that substantial miscarriage of justice had been done by the terms of the said judgment. Accordingly, NNPC (through its counsel) applied for Judicial Review, which is a procedure provided under the Supreme Court Civil Procedure Rules for review of extant judgments. Also, the corporation submitted an independent request, addressed to the Chief Justice of the Federation, seeking intervention to facilitate timely action.
“We confirm that sequel to the above application for Judicial Review of the Supreme Court judgment, BCE had filed a counter-affidavit dated October 10, 2019, in which it requested the court to disregard NNPC’s application.
“Additionally, BCE sought the order of the court in directing UBA Plc, the fundholder, to release the entire judgment sum of $22, 630,000 which NNPC deposited in an interest yielding account in favour of the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Court of Appeal in 2008, as condition for appeal, to them,” the memo reads.
In July 1999, BCE filed an action at the Federal High Court, Lagos in Suit No. FHC/L/C/I316/2000 against NNPC following the Corporation’s termination of the contract at the directive of the Federal Government. BCE claimed certain reliefs including the sum of 807,894 dollars being the alleged value of outstanding invoices submitted to NNPC on various dates between June and October 1999.
BCE claimed $28.1 million or its Naira equivalent as special damages for illegal cancellation of the Consultancy Services Agreement. On March 7, 2002, the Court directed NNPC to pay BCE the sum of 22. 6 million dollars as damages for the illegal cancellation of the Agreement.
After BCE filed an appeal, the Court of Appeal directed NNPC to deposit the Judgment sum of 22.6 million dollars into court as a condition for appeal which NNPC complied.
On June 9, 2011, the Court upheld NNPC’s appeal on grounds that the Federal High Court lacked jurisdiction over disputes arising from simple contracts.
“At a settlement meeting convened by the HAGF in 2016, NNPC offered BCE the sum of US$1 million in full and final settlement of their claims which BCE rejected,” it says. On April 10, 2019, BCE and NNPC (through their respective Counsel) appeared before the Supreme Court to argue their case.
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