$150m Suit: Court Admits Bablink Witness’ Documents In Evidence

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Justice Edward Okpe of High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Nyanya, has admitted in evidence, several documents tendered by Bablink Resources Nig. Ltd against Brentex Petroleum Ltd and China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Co. Ltd.

At a resumed hearing on Thursday, Michael Aondoakaa SAN, who appeared for the claimants (Bablink), called his first witness in the matter.

The claimant’s witness, Mr. Ganni Isiaka, a Director in Bablink adopted his witness statement on oath as several documents were tendered and admitted through him.

However, Counsel for the Defendants, H. M Danjuma, sought leave that his right to object to all the documents tendered by the Claimant be reserved for final address and same application was granted.

Nevertheless, the tendered documents were admitted in evidence and marked as exhibits BRN 1 to BRN 19 respectively.

Thereafter, Defendants Counsel sought for an adjournment on the grounds that they are not ready for cross examination.

Earlier, effort by
Aondoakaa to call the claimant’s first witness was vehemently opposed by lawyer to the defendants.

Danjuma told the court that the defendants had applied to the vacation Judge for the matter to be re-assigned and that the said application was granted by the vacation Judge.

However, the presiding Judge, Edward Okpe informed the Defendant Counsel that the case file before him which is marked CV/589/2023, had not at anytime been transmitted to the Chief Judge for re-assignment.

The judge stated that it was rather the case file in motions marked M/2083/23 and M/2084/23 that were transmitted to the Chief Judge for re-assignment.

In view of the foregoing, Counsel to the Defendants, then said they were not ready to proceed as they needed time to put their house in order.

Reacting, Aondoakaa dismissed the Defendants’ reason for an adjournment, and urged the court to discountenance the application for adjournment and proceed with the hearing of the matter.

But Danjuma replied that his application for adjournment was on the ground of fair hearing.

However, in a bench ruling on the application for adjournment, the court held that the application by the defendants counsel for adjournment has no leg upon which it can stand, saying that fair hearing is for all the parties as well as the Court.

Justice Okpe added that the Defendants have not in any way been deprived of their right to fair hearing but same have been accorded to them as they were served with the Writ of Summons since December 18, 2023, but have failed to file a Defence even when they were in Court on the last adjourned date when the matter was adjourned to today for hearing.

It was the court’s opinion that fair hearing is also for the Claimant, and for the Defendant to not be ready and then seeking adjournment to the detriment of the Claimant who is ready to proceed is also an encroachment on the Claimant’s right to fair hearing.

Consequently, the Defendants application for adjournment was refused by the Court and the Claimant was granted leave to call it’s first witness.

The matter has been adjourned with the consent of parties to the February 13, 2024 for continuation of hearing.