A High Court judge has ordered the Education Facilities Company Ltd (EFCL) to pay close to $.7 million to a contractor who supplied cafeteria equipment for three secondary schools. In a ruling on Wednesday, Justice Devindra Rampersad ordered the EFCL to pay Advance Commercial Equipment Ltd (ACEL) for loss and damage suffered by the company, which supplied the equipment but was not paid in full.
According to ACEL’s lawsuit, the company which supplies equipment for restaurants, hotels, hospitals and government institutions, entered into a contract with EFCL in March 2011.
The contract was for supplying, delivering and installing cafeteria equipment for three schools for $1.2 million. According to ACEL, three payments were made after invoices were submitted, but despite several attempts to recover the remainder of the money owed, EFCL refused to pay.
The company also said although it was owed, “in an effort to preserve the standing business relationship,” it continued to work for EFCL.
In his ruling, Rampersad granted a stay of execution of his order for 60 days.
ACEL was represented by attorneys Richard Jagai, Varun Dabideen and Kerishma Arjoon.
In a separate lawsuit against the EFCL, Jutsice Rampersad dismissed an application by the state company for a stay of a lawsuit against it by Kall Co, which is claiming a breach of contract for a $22 million debt. Kall Co says the money is for 14 contracts for the provision of construction services, pest eradication and maintenance of schools.
EFCL lawyers had asked for the stay since they said the contract dispute should be determined by arbitration in accordance to the contract conditions.
In his ruling, Justice Rampersad said in the absence of any proper identification of a dispute, the only issue to be determined was payment.
He also said the court was aware that there were several other matters in litigation against EFCL and it could be perceived that the state company was merely seeking to delay payment.
“As it stands, just sending the matter to arbitration just because the clause exists without identifying what has to be arbitrated does not make sense,” the judge said.