COURT UPHOLDS ENUGU STATE’S CASE RELATING TO CLAIM OF OVER ₦501 MILLION CONSULTANCY CONTRACT

The High Court of Enugu State has delivered judgement in Suit No: E/572/2020 between the Attorney General of Enugu State and the Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue v Scientific Synergy Consult Limited and Chief James Akingbola Akinola, FCIArb, C. Arb.

Scientific Synergy Consult Limited had commenced an arbitral proceeding seeking to enforce an alleged Retainer Agreement between it and the Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue.  However, the Enugu State Government (through its Attorney General) and the Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue brought an action against the company, by an Originating Summons, for a declaration that there was no valid and enforceable contract between the Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue and Scientific Synergy Consult Limited.

Scientific Synergy Consult Limited, in response to the suit, filed a Counterclaim, and urged the Court to declare that there was indeed a valid and enforceable contract between it and the Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue. It also prayed the Court to make an  order directing the Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue to pay over to it, the sum of  ₦501,195,664.64k (Five Hundred and One Million, One Hundred and Ninety-Five Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty-Four Naira, Sixty-Four Kobo) as commission for PAYE and Development levies audit of the University of Nigeria Nsukka for the years 2006- 2008, pursuant to an alleged Retainer Agreement between it and the Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue, in which it claimed to have recovered the sum of ₦2,505,978,323.22k (Two Billion, Five Hundred and Five Million, Nine Hundred and Seventy-Eight Thousand, Three Hundred and Twenty-Three Naira, Twenty-Two Kobo), on behalf of Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue.

On September 22, 2021, during the hearing of the suit, Counsel to the Enugu State Government and the Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue, O.A. Okafor, Esq. of Kenna Partners, urged the Court to hold that there is no contract between Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue and the Scientific Synergy Consult Limited, and even if there was, the action would have been Statute barred by the time the Defendant commenced arbitral proceedings.

Delivering the Court’s Judgement, the learned, Honourable Justice K. I. Okpe of the High Court of Enugu State agreed with the submissions of the Plaintiff’s Counsel and held that there was no valid and enforceable contract between the Enugu State Board of Internal Revenue and Scientific Synergy Consults Limited and that in any case, Synergy’s claim and resort to Arbitration was statute barred. The Court further held that Scientific Synergy Consult Limited failed to prove its Counterclaim as its own documents disproved rather than proved its case, consequently the Court dismissed the Counter Claim.

Legal Insights Request Form