Court Orders Westcom Technologies To Pay Swiss Firm $12m | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Court Orders Westcom Technologies To Pay Swiss Firm $12m

Posted: Jun 9, 2015 at 12:45 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Tunde Opeseitan, Lagos


A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered a Nigerian firm, Westcom Technologies and Energy Services Limited to pay the sum of $12, 064, 435 to a Switzerland company, Transclear S.A, being demurrage accrued on several ship load of bulk cement sold to the firm on credit.

The judgment delivered by Justice Musa kurya was sequel to a suit filed before the court by Olumide Sofowora (SAN) on behalf of Transclear S.A.

According to the testimony of the Managing Director of the Swiss company, Attila Paulovits, while being led in evidence by his counsel (Sofowora), it was averred that on the 7th of September 2009, the plaintiff (Transclear S.A) entered into an agreement to supply five cargoes of bulk cement to Westcom Technologies on credit and the company was supposed to pay for the consignment as per the terms of the said agreement.

The bulk of the cement were delivered as agreed but were not discharged from the vessel by the defendant as at when due resulting in the accrual of demurrage on all the vessels to the tune of $8,500,000 which became due and payable to the various ship owners.

Paulovit further told the court that the defendant pleaded with the plaintiff to continue to supply it with cement based on the terms and agreement and promises to defray the outstanding demurrage, thereafter additional four ships loads were supplied and statement of account of the demurrage accrued on the nine vessels showed the defendant was indebted to the plaintiff to the tune of $12,063,435.

However, despite repeated demands and meetings, the defendant allegedly failed to pay the debt.

However, Managing Director of Westcom Technologies, Kola Sowande, in his defence, admitted that indeed and in truth, the sum of US $12,063,444,96 was due and owed the plaintiff and that the money had not been paid.

He, however, contended that the plaintiff’s claim was not truly a claim for demurrage as to confer the requisite jurisdiction on the court to entertain the plaintiff’s legal action.

In addition, the defendant contended that the plaintiff did not establish any agreement of carriage of goods by sea between the two parties and that there was no shipping agreement between the parties from which a demurrage claim could ensue and such claim was one for a simple debt over which the court had no jurisdiction.