Nigerian judge calls for accelerated trial of Econet case

THE judge presiding over the legal battle between Econet Wireless and its Nigerian partners in the Lagos High Court has ruled that the case should go to full trial on an accelerated basis, Econet said in a statement.


The judge, O

Olateru-Olagbeji, has set aside three days during which the court will hear Econet’s submissions to have the purported sale of V-Mobile to Celtel/MTC cancelled.


Econet is alleging breach of contract by its Nigerian partners in the sale of equity to Celtel.


In a hearing held in Lagos on July 20, Olateru-Olagbeji ruled that Econet could amend its claim to include evidence that there had not only been a breach of contract but also a conspiracy to deny the company transaction documents which were needed for them to be able to successfully acquire V-Mobile.


“Remarking from the bench, the judge said the case was a high-profile case which was being watched by the “whole world” and should be tried on an “accelerated basis”, Econet spokesman Sure Kamhunga said in a statement.


The judge, who had come back from leave to issue the ruling, set aside dates in October 27 and November 3, 10 and 17 for the full court hearing.


These are the first available dates after the Nigerian judiciary comes back from their annual vacation.


Kamhunga said his company was satisfied with the outcome of the hearing.


“We are glad that the judge recognises that this is a case of major international significance. We appreciate that it has been set as an accelerated case. The trial is going to be very interesting because there will be a lot of surprises. We will finally get to show the whole world what really happened,” Kamhunga said.


Econet has asked the Nigerian Court to reverse the sale of 65% of V-Mobile to Celtel Nigeria, a subsidiary of Kuwaiti operator MTC.


Econet alleges that it had right of pre-emption to buy the shares, and that V-Mobile shareholders breached an agreement to allow it to follow its rights over an offer made by Celtel. — Staff Writer.

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