N120m Dubai property suit: Court dismisses motion to set side judgment
An FCT High Court in Abuja on Monday, dismissed a motion filed by DAMAC Star Properties LLC of Dubai aimed at setting aside its judgment compelling the firm to refund 350,000 dollars (about N120 million) to Profitel Nigeria Ltd.
The amount was a deposit for nine apartments on the fourth floor of Burjside Boulevard building in Dubai.
Giving ruling, Justice Yusuf Haliru held that the Feb.15, 2017 judgment against the applicant was not in default, adding that the due process of law was followed.
Haliru said a party who had approached the court with equitable jurisdiction seeking equitable remedy must fulfill some vital conditions.
The judge said the applicant had failed to convince the court to grant any of the prayers, adding that the judgment was not given in default but based on merit of issues raised.
The judge said it was established that all defendants in the main suit were served by substituted means as ordered by the court.
Haliru said the record of the court had it that the applicant failed to appear in court after being served with the processes.
“If a party fails to appear in court having been served with court processes through legal means, such a party is to blame as judgment could be entered.
“In the prevailing case, the applicant was duly served by substituted means but failed to appear to defend its case and therefore, judgment was entered in favour of the plaintiff.
“A judgment that is handed down on undefended list suffices upon the knowledge that the defendant fails to appear consistently.
“Having considered the merit of this application, I hereby dismiss it for lacking substance’’, the judge held.
He also held that the court had the inherent jurisdiction to entertain the suit brought to it by Profitel Nigeria Limited.
Mr Nnamdi Ekwen, Counsel to the applicant, had argued that the court did not give sufficient time for his client to be represented during the trial.
He further submitted that his client was never served with the court processes before the judgment was entered.
He also challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter, insisting that the contractual agreements were carried out in Dubai and not in Nigeria.
However, Mr Solomon Aboje, Counsel to Profitel Nigeria Ltd, pleaded with the court to discountenance Ekwen’s submission and remain steadfast with its judgment.
Aboje argued that all parties, including the representative of the judgment debtor, were duly served with the processes.
According to him, the judgment is not in default and cannot be set aside by the court. Aboje said the court did not have the jurisdiction to entertain the matter, adding that the applicant ought to have approached the appellate court. Aboje, who cited plethora of legal authorities to buttress his argument, urged the court to dismiss the application. (NAN)