The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, ordered the Bayelsa State Government to pay N18.4m and 10 per cent interest to a contractor, Rural Communities Development Outreach due to failure of the state government to pay 25 percent counterpart funding of a grant contract by the European Union and the Bayelsa Government executed by the Outreach.
In 2008, RCDO was engaged through a grant contract by the EU and the government to implement three pilot solar powered water schemes in Otuabula II, Toru-Angiama and Agbura communities of Bayelsa.
While the EU provided 75 per cent of the funds, the host state, Bayelsa was to provide 25 per cent of the total funds according to the agreement signed by the EU and the government.
However, after about three months of awarding the contract, the government was allegedly not forthcoming with its own counterpart funding.
The contractor, fearing that the community might lose the contract, had to approach the bank and took a facility of N18,416,842.00, representing 25 per cent to add to the 75 per cent from the EU and got the contract completed.
On completion of the projects, the state government failed to pay the contractor, prompting them to run to the court to institute a case against the government to enforce their obligation.
But on March 30, 2011 in a Suit No. YHC/287/2010, before Justice D.E. Adokeme, the Judge dismissed the suit against the claimant.
Aggrieved by the judgment of the court, the claimant filed a notice of Appeal at the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division.
On May 16, 2014, a judgment was delivered in favour of the claimant in Suit No. CA/PH/583/2013.
In a judgment delivered by the three justices of the court, the Bayelsa State Government was ordered to pay the claimant/appellant the 25 per cent counterpart funding and 10 per cent from March 30, 2011, the day Justice Adokeme delivered his judgment set aside by the Appeal Court.
The judgment signed by Justice Eko, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent, reads in part, “It is hereby ordered that the interest at the rate of 10 per cent per annum on the sum of N18 416, 82.70 be paid to the defendants/respondents (the Bayelsa State Government) until the judgment sum is completely and fully paid to the claimant/appellant.
He said, “I allow the appeal in part. The judgment of the court below in the Suit No. YHC/287/2010 is hereby set aside. Judgment for the claimant in following terms, that is:
“1. The sum of N18 416, 82.70 being and/or representing 25 per cent counterpart funding due to the claimant by the defendants; and
“2. Interest at the rate of 10 per cent per annum on the said sum of N18 416, 82.70 from the date of judgment on March 30, 2011 until the judgment sum and interest thereon have been fully and and completely liquidated are hereby entered for the claimant against the defendants. And that shall be the judgment of the trial court.”
In his judgment, Justice Adah concurred with Eko’s judgment and set aside the judgment of the lower court in Suit No. YHC/287/2010.
“I, in consequence order that the judgment be entered and it is hereby entered for the appellant/claimant as per the claim endorsed on the writ of summons as specified in the judgment of my brother, Eko,” Adah stated.
Justice Sanga in his judgment said, “On the whole, it is my finding that this appeal has merit and it is allowed in part, the judgment of the lower court is hereby set aside.”