Hon. Justice Amina Adamu Augie, Justice of the Supreme Court in her ruling on the 16th Feb., 2018 in the case between APPELLANTS: (1) Sifax Nigeria Limited, (2) Dr, Taiwo Afolabi, (3) Mr. Babatunde Olanrewaju Afolabi (4) Otunba Michael Olatunde Olowu and (5) Ports and Cargo Handling Services Company Limited, and RESPONDENTS: (1) Migfo Nigeria Limited, (Denca Service Ltd, which should serve as a locus classicus on the application of statutes of limitation.
Justice Augie said it is the second time the parties are coming before the court over a dispute involving Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated 27/07/2005, which they put up to jointly bid for the concession and the joint management of Terminal ‘C’, Tin Can Island Port, Apapa, Lagos, which was being concessioned by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)
Between the Appellants and the Respondents, it was agreed that if the bid is successful, a joint venture company would be incorporated by the joint venture partners to manage operations of the Port, and they did emerge as the preferred bidders.
However, the Respondents later discovered that the first, third and fourth Appellants had secretly incorporated the fifth Appellant company without them, and that the Port had been handed over to the fifth Appellant by the BPE and NPA.
A search was conducted at the CAC Abuja and a certified true copies of the incorporated documents retrieved on the 20th of July, 2006, which showed that only the first and third Appellants were shareholders and directors of the fifth Appellant company, contrary to the terms of the said MOU.
After all efforts to resolve the issue failed, the Respondents filed Suit No. FHC/L/CS/664/2006 at the Federal High Court, Lagos, and they got Judgment in their favour as the FHC granted all the reliefs sought by them.
The court of Appeal affirmed same in its Judgment delivered on the 17th of Dec., 2008.
However, on further appeal of the Appellants, the court, in its Judgment delivered on the 8th of June, 2012 struck out the suit on the ground that the FHC lacked jurisdiction. – See the earlier Judgment of this court in Ports & Cargo Handling Services Co. Ltd. & 3 Ors. v. Migfo Nig. Ltd. & Anor (2012) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1333) 555.
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