A major victory for a plaintiff, Quest Two Enterprises ltd, in its mining dispute with Dangote Group Plc as the Federal High Court in Lokoja, Kogi State, ordered the latter and three of its subsidiaries to pay N2,697,125,000.
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The subsidiaries are: Dangote Cement Plc, Obajana Cement Plc, and Dangote Industries Plc.
The judgment was handed down by Justice Phoebe Ayua.
The plaintiff had claimed various sums for breach of contract, special damages and specific performance of Dangote’s obligations contained in two Memoranda of Understanding dated January 2, 2014 and February 10, 2014.
In his judgment, Justice Ayua averred that the Dangote General Manager, Mr. Victor Mohan, who was also the sole witness admitted under cross-examination that his employers, Dangote Group, effectively shut down operations of the company by dismantling power lines belonging to the company and disrupting their operations. Despite agreeing to pay compensation for these acts to the plaintiffs, the judge also noted that the defendants failed to live up to the terms of the agreement to pay any compensation to the plaintiffs.
The court also dismissed Dangote’s counter-claims that the actions of the plaintiff amounted to trespassing on their mining lease area. He consequently declared that Dangote should pay the sum N2.7billion as damages and issued a Garnishee order Nisi against 21 banks to satisfy the judgment debt.
This new development comes as Dangote is fiercely battling another mining dispute with cement giant, BUA Cement, in which the Chairman of BUA recently wrote an open letter to the President claiming that Dangote in collaboration with the Ministry of Mines & steel illegally entered its Mining areas with a view to disrupting and sabotaging operations at BUA’s Okpella cement plant despite a court order restraining Dangote and the Ministry from claiming and or moving to the site.
The cases comes up for hearing shortly at the Federal High Court in Benin.