The Lagos High Court yesterday heard an application by Bharti Airtel, an Indian telecommunications group, and others seeking to prevent an International Arbitration Tribunal from making its final assessment of the quantum of damages and equitable compensation that they must pay to Econet Wireless for the violation of its shareholder rights.
In December last year an International Tribunal, set up under the auspices of the United Nations Commision for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and comprising senior lawyers from Nigeria and England, found that there had been multiple breaches of the shareholders agreement when Celtel Nigeria, now Bharti Airtel, had acquired control of 65% of the shares in the Company and ordered them to pay damages and equitable compensation to Econet. The amount due to Econet will be set in the final stage of the Arbitral process which Bharti is now seeking to prevent taking place.
The hearing of the Bharti application started in April, and yesterday, 4th June, was the first day of the substantive case, when legal representatives of both parties presented their arguments to the Court. The Judge concluded yesterday's hearing by adjourning the proceedings until 4th October for the handing down of her decision.
In its written submission to the Court, Econet Wireless said that its experts believe the quantum of the equitable compensation and damages amounts to more than US$3bn.