A BUSINESS arrangement between Institute of Directors (IOD) and five consulting firms hired for the building of an eight-floor office complex in Ikoyi, Lagos has gone sour as parties now lock horns in court.
The contract agreements are now being contested with the client claiming that the firms engaged on its project were never really given the go ahead to begin execution, two years after being assigned letters of authorisation to execute the project.
The firms of Promaco Associates, Interstate Architects, Morgan Omonitan and Abe (Civil Engineering), Kunle Ogunbayo and Associates (engineering services) and Consol Associates (quantity surveyors), all limited liability companies, have taken IOD to court over non – payment of professional fees for the consultancy services rendered to it.
The suit with number LD/ 2524CMLN/16 has come up several time at the Lagos High Court before Justice Serifat Iyabode Sonaike, the last being April 3.
The claimants have insisted that they were duly appointed by the institute in 2014, and given letters to that effect. Counsel for the claimants is Chief J. Akingbola Akinola.
The project involves the development of an office block complex for the IOD on its piece of land on 53 Glover Road, Ikoyi. According to the claimants, the design for the building drawn by Interstate Architects was approved early in 2015.
The project was subsequently costed by the consulting firm of quantity surveyors, one of the claimants in the suit, for approximately N3 billion (N2, 969, 522,900 precisely).
However, before work could commence on the project, the IOD was offered a land swap deal by Transcorp Hotels for the one belonging to it on Alfred Rilwane Road.
The claimants have revealed that through their efforts, which included sitting in various committees as they were appointed by the Institute and several trips to the relevant government offices for the
perfection of the titles, the swap was perfected before the end of 2015. This was in addition, to helping their client secure N300 million compensation from Transcorp, paid to the IOD in 2016.
The proposed project is an eight – floor structure to house all the offices needs of the professional body. The claimants revealed that trouble between them and the client started when the leadership of the institute changed hands sometime last year from Mrs. Eniola Fadayomi to Mr. Samuel Yemi Akeju.
While Akeju insists that the consultants were not properly commissioned to commence work on the project, The Guardian was shown letters to that effect, which the claimants have in their possessions and intend to tender in court.
On March 13, IOD requested for out of court settlement and was granted, with a month’s adjournment to give parties time for the settlement to take place.
The parties could not resolve the issues amicably and nothing has been achieved in that regard. Thus the case was returned to the Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Oluwafunmilayo Olajumoke Atilade, who will assign a trial judge to the case after they have obtained a date from the Fast Track Registry.
In the suit, IOD basically filed a claim of general denial, part of which states that the consultants were not properly commissioned to proceed with services they rendered.
• The Guardian