AIC Limited has placed a warning label on Shoprite, after winning a court battle and $10million against the store known as Africa’s biggest food retailer.
In a document received by NewsmakersNG from billionaire chairman of AIC Limited, Chief Harry Akande, banks and other establishments are warned not to transact any business with Shoprite.
AIC recently won a seven-year legal battle against the South African retail group for breaching contract between both parties in Suit No LD/488/2010 – A.I.C Limited (Claimant) v Shoprite Checkers (PTY) Ltd of South Africa and Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited (Defendants).
A judgement of $10 million (about N3.4Billion) in damages was delivered against Shoprite and its partner Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, at the High Court in Igbosere.
Shoprite was sued for side-lining AIC after entering an agreement before opening shop in Nigeria in 2005.
The disputed agreement says that AIC is to be the exclusive operator and manager of Shoprite brand across West Africa, except Ghana where the brand was already established.
The judgement delivered by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo also included the payment of N1 million to cover AIC’s legal costs and an interest rate of 10 percent per annum on the damages starting from the date of judgment until the $10 million is completely paid.
AIC had, through its legal counsel Prof Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), stressed that Shoprite incorporated another company Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited and began using the new entity to operate in Nigeria, thereby breaching agreements between them.
AIC then sued for $2.23 million, N13.6 million as special damages and 50 percent of $92.3 million, the profit that it would have made by operating Shoprite from 2005 to 2009 when the case began.
Shoprite through its legal counsel Funke Adekoya (SAN) however claimed that there was no joint agreement between both companies. It also argued that AIC did not produce any concrete proof of joint venture agreement between both companies.
Justice Lawal Akapo, however, concluded that there were indeed business meetings between representatives of AIC and Shoprite which held first in South Africa on April 16, 1998 then at the claimant office in Victoria Island on May 27, 1998. Shoprite also flew in representatives who were shown possible locations for retail stores at some locations including Lekki Roundabout, Trade fair Complex and Lagos National Theatre, Iganmu.
The judge ruled that the meetings also resulted in an agreement.
Since December 2005, when it opened its first store in Lagos, Shoprite has launched additional 17 stores and employed over 2000 people across eight states in Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
AIC’s management specifically warned all Real Estate Developers and Firms, all suppliers of Goods and Services; Resilient Africa Real Estate Proprietary Limited; Resilient Properties (PTY) Limited; Resilient REIT Limited; Persianas Group- Owners if the Palms Shopping Malls, all Shoprite Supermarket – anchored Malls in Nigeria, including Jabi Lake Mall, Abuja; Silverbird Entertainment Centre, Abuja; Ikeja City Mall, Lagos; Novare Lekki Mall, Lagos; Port Harcourt Mall, Port Harcourt; Onitsha Mall, Onitsha; Abia Mall, Umuahia; Delta Mall, Warri; Cocoa Mall, Ibadan; Ado Bayero Mall, Kano, and Festival Mall, Lagos, among others.