The Lagos State High Court in Ikeja has entered judgment against Shoprite Checkers Limited, the operator of Shoprite outlets in Nigeria, in a $10m breach of contract suit filed against it by A.I.C. Limited.
The court, in a judgment by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, ordered Shoprite Checkers Limited and Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, which was joined as second defendant in the suit, to pay the judgment sum with an annual interest of 10 per cent from the day he delivered the judgment till the sum is finally liquidated.
The court also awarded an additional N1m against the defendants in favour of the claimant as the cost of pursuing the lawsuit which commenced in 2012.
In a certified true copy of the judgment obtained by a Punch correspondent, the judge said he found that the 1st defendant breached an agreement it had with the claimant when it “incorporated a company, established the outlet (Shoprite) in 2005 and was running the same without recourse to the claimant.”
“The claimant had incorporated a company, A.I.C. -Shoprite Nigeria Ltd., in the hope of a joint venture for the establishment and running of a Shoprite outlet (in Nigeria).
“(But) the defendant went behind, incorporated a company, established the outlet in 2005 and was running the same without recourse to the claimant. The claimant can adequately be compensated,” the judge held.
The judge granted the prayer by the claimant seeking “a declaration that the incorporation of the 2nd defendant by the 1st defendant to operate the 1st defendant’s Shoprite brand in Nigeria is in breach of the agreement it had with the claimant.”
Contrary to the contention by the 1st defendant, the “there exists a contract between the claimant and the 1st defendant which contract is still subsisting till date.”
The court agreed with the claimant that “by virtue of the agreement between the claimant and 1st defendant, the joint venture to be formed by the claimant and 1st defendant is entitled to exclusively operate and manage 1st defendant’s Shoprite brand in Nigeria and elsewhere in the coast of West Africa, except Ghana.”
But the defendants have appealed against the judgment.