Asks court to freeze assets
The Federal High Court’s 7th civil bench began hearing a case brought by Wondwossen Mengistu, who is seeking 7.26 million birr from Perfecto Omega Furniture Plc.
According to court documents Wondwossen, owner of Nicon Plc and the four star, Nazra Hotel, paid 1.56 million birr to Perfecto Omega to produce and deliver 32 beds and other bedroom furniture to Nazra Hotel within 90 days and install it within 21 working days.
The plaintiff stated they paid the amount in two installments. However, they said the defendant failed to deliver the furniture.
The plaintiff told the court that it had hired over 30 employees in order to open the hotel and start providing service as of August 1, 2013. However, because perfecto did not deliver the furniture, the hotel was forced to postpone the opening.
The plaintiff, a prominent businessman involved in transport, freight forwarding and other businesses, is seeking compensation of a minimum of 7.26 million birr in damages, the estimated amount that the hotel would have earned had it opened on time, plus interest. In addition the plaintiff has also asked the court to force the defendant to deliver the furniture.
The plaintiff has attached seven documents as evidence including the furniture purchase contract deal between the two parties, receipts for the payment, ten sample employment contracts for Nazra Hotel, the investment license that shows the hotel’s rates and market trend research showing room prices for other similar four star hotels.
The defendant argued that the plaintiff’s business is a guest house. The defendant’s lawyer pointed out that the government has suspended rating hotels for the past two years.
In the trial held on December 5, lawyers for the plaintiff and defendant argued over potentially freezing the furniture company’s capital. The defendant’s lawyer argued that a capital freeze could harm the company’s business transactions and affect deals with other clients and as well as with its own employees.
“If it is necessary the court should freeze fixed assets like machines, not their liquid assets,” Aman Assefa, lawyer for Perfecto Omega said.
But the plaintiff’s lawyer Girma Worku claimed that since the defendant is a foreigner the defendant could move its machinery and capital out of the country.
“We can bring evidence that they are doing this, to the court and we then will ask the court to freeze the company’s capital,” Girma said.
The court has adjourned and will give its final decision about the capital freeze issue on Monday December 9, 2013.