Airtel Loses N4.8bn Judgement Appeal
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Makurdi Zonal office, yesterday arraigned Otsapa Ubani Otsapa, chairman of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Ado Local Government Chapter, Benue State before Justice Moris Ikpambese of the Benue State High Court, Makurdi, on a two count charge of alleged criminal conspiracy, abuse of office and diversion of public funds to the tune of N17, 552,400.00.
The defendant pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges and EFCC counsel; George Chia-Yakua prayed the court for a trial date and an order to remand him in custody pending trial. Defence counsel, Abraham Aruta, applied for bail on self-recognizance. Justice Ikpambese granted bail of N10 million with one surety in like sum. The case was adjourned till December 3, 2020.
The Enugu Zonal office of the EFCC also arraigned former manager, Heritage Bank Limited, Fidel Omeje, before Justice D.A Onyefulu of State High Court, Onitsha on one count charge of stealing $50,000. It was alleged that Omeje used her position as bank manager and account officer of the complainant, to withdraw said amount from the domiciliary account of the complainant on July 20, 2011 without authorization and converted same to personal use. The defendant pleaded not guilty, prompting prosecuting counsel, Mike Ani to request for a trial. However, defence counsel, J.R. Nduka moved a motion for bail, saying the offence for which his client was charged was bailable. Justice Onyefulu granted bail in the sum of N20, 000,000 and a surety in like sum and adjourned to November 26, 2020 for trial.
Airtel Networks Limited has lost an appeal against a N4.888, 434,208 judgment debt delivered by Lagos High Court in a suit filed against it by telephony products and services distributor, Plus Limited.
Plus Ltd had dragged Airtel before the lower court over the company’s alleged refusal to pay commission for services it had rendered after the termination of their contract. Justice O.A Williams had ordered Airtel to pay the Plus Limited the sum of N4.8bn, being debt for commission on services rendered. Dissatisfied with this, Airtel filed appeal, asking an appellate court for redress. In a lead judgment by Justice Festus Obande Ogbuinya, the Court of Appeal dismissed Airtel’s three grounds of appeal against the lower court judgment. The appellate court also disagreed with Airtel that the Lagos High Court judge perverted justice in the matter. Justices Ugochukwu Ogakwu and Balkisu Aliyu, who were also on the panel, consented to Justice Ogbuinya’s judgment. Airtel has however appealed the judgment before the Supreme Court.