Fresh crisis rocks UCTH over N68m COVID-19 Isolation Centre debt

The ongoing trial by justice Angela Obi of the Cross River State High Court between the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH Management Board and a contractor, Chief James Obi Achara has gone before another court.

The UCTH Management is before Justice Elias Abua seeking to get the cost of the process during the time the matter lasted there (his court ) from Obi Achara Nigeria Limited.

The University of Calabar Teaching Hospital is in court over the Isolation Centre Project (now mostly used as one of the Cross River State’s COVID-19 Isolation Centre) in the hospital constructed by the contractor, Obi Achara Nigeria Limited, who is being owed in the tune of 68 million naira.

While the case is currently pending in Suit No. HC/316/2020 before Angela Obi, the UCTH is seeking to relist an earlier case in Suit No. HC/104/2020 before Justice Elias Abua all in the Cross River State High Court.

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The hospital insists that the case before Justice Abua was discontinued when the parties were not in court and wants to relist the case for the purpose of being indemnified with costs.

Presiding Judge Elias Abua adjourned the matter to the 20th of July 2021 to consider the application to relist the matter.

Dafe Diegbe Esq., counsel to be UCTH said the hospital defended the action saying they did not have the opportunity to apply for cost when the matter was struck out.

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His words: “The matter was struck out on the day where no party was in court and before the matter was struck out, we ought to have been indemnified first.

“No cost was awarded to us when the matter was struck out, so, we are coming back to apply for the relisting of the matter for the purpose of hearing us in the issue of cost.

“The matter is not alive and was struck out, so, we are applying to relist it so we can ask for cost”, he said.

However, the counsel to Obi Achara Nigeria Limited, Eta Akpama, Esq., said they have filed their response and are strongly against the matter being relisted.

He said the subject matter is pending before another judge and so they have applied to the court to strike out the case.

“We have filed our response to the application for the relisting of the matter.

“We are strongly against the matter being relisted when HC/216/2020 on the same subject matter is pending before another court of competent jurisdiction involving the same issues and parties”, he said.

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