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Olateru-Olagbegi Drags Gov. Ajimobi To Court For Breach Of Contract, Demands N500 Million Damages!

First Bank Nigeria

Dateline April 9 2010, the Oyo State government, headed by former governor Adebayo AlaoAkala, entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the establishment of a waste organic fertilizer/Energy and recycling plant for the development of 860 megawatt Electricity and production of 250 tonnes of organic fertilizer with Mogoke Ventures.
The first phase of the plant which was supposed to generate full employment for at least 700 Nigerians has been thrown to the dustbin going by the refusal of the Ajimobi-led government of Oyo State to honour the terms of the MOU which was duly signed with the state government.
Prince Adegoke Olateru-Olagbegi, Mogoke’s managing director, explained how the deal was struck in a statement on oath he deposed to at the High Court, Ibadan. It states in part: “Our proposal to partner with the Oyo State Government on the project was accepted. This led to the execution of the MoU dated April 9, 2010. Under the agreement, the Waste Recycling and Fertilizer Company Ltd (WRFC), was jointly incorporated.
“Government agreed that its 30 percent shares equity of the WRFC will be the land provided at the government dump­site, Aba Eku, Ona-Ara Local Govern­ment. The MoU guaranteed a 35-year exclusiveness for us (Mogoke Ventures) to recoup our investment because the project would consume a
Mogoke ventures then swung into action. The company among others, sponsored Skye Bank officers (our bankers), to visit Viacel International LLC, San Antonio, Texas, USA, to inspect and verify the equipment to be purchased for the project.
According to Olagbegi, “We also paid Viacel, a non-refundable sum of $350,320 for the purchase of a turnkey organic fertilizer plant. We procured a bill of quantities and architectural design of the plant for WRFC at N1, 050,000.lot of money to be solely borne by us”.
“Unfortunately, bureaucratic delays and perfection of documents did not allow the take-off of the project until the expira­tion of the tenure of the immediate past government. As a result, the Ministry of Agriculture Natural Resources and Rural Development, wrote us on May 5, 2011, to extend the take-off date to April 2012.”
“We petitioned the government, the Agriculture ministry and the Ministry of Justice. When this and other efforts failed, we went to court. The court on November 26, 2012, referred the matter to an arbitration panel to resolve the dispute in accordance with the MOU.”
To the utter astonishment of Mogoke Ventures, rather than set up arbitration panel to resolve this issue the Oyo state government went to the appeal court on June 10, 2012. However, its appeal was dismissed on May 13, 2015, for being unmeritorious. The parties were ordered to proceed to arbitration.
Mogoke’s lawyers in a letter on May 18, 2015, urged government to nominate its own arbitrator, but it refused. Instead the government went ahead against the terms of the MOU and the court of appeal ruling, to award the same project to another company (name withheld). The company has started operation at its site, Ajakanga Landfill, Arapaja Road, Oluyole LG, Ibadan.
Prince Goke Olateru Olagbegi, the Managing Director of Mogoke Vetures, obviously miffed at this barefaced disregard of the ruling of its own judiciary lamented to Yemoja News that:
“The Oyo State Government bought my idea having seen the level of experience. I have worked as general manager at the Sodex Ho USA (environmental hospital services) in the USA. Before the award of the contract, government did not have any similar project on ground. It is therefore necessary and expedient for the court to protect our business idea which is recognized, contained and preserved by the exclusivity clause in the MoU.”
For him compensation cannot be adequate for all the expenses and losses incurred that is why in a letter to the Attorney General of Oyo state we have proceeded to ask for general damages totaling N500million and or that we will continue to incur in undertaking the WRFC project.”

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