International businessman, Chief Harry Akande will soon become N4.6billion richer courtesy of a judgement reached by an Appeal Court sitting in Lagos.
According to sources familiar with the case, the Ibadan Billionaire who was formerly based in Chicago, USA was the one who had approached Shoprite to set up in Nigeria did a lot of feasibility studies but was side tracked .
According the the court papers, officials of the South African retail store, Shoprite, had several meetings with Akande’s company, AIC Limited.
They agreed that AIC would be the exclusive operator and manager of its brand across West Africa, except Ghana where the Shoprite brand was already established.
Consequently, there were a series of business meetings between Akande’s representatives and Shoprite Checkers first in South Africa on April 16, 1998, and then at Akande’s office on Victoria Island, Lagos on May 27, 1998.
Shoprite was also said to have flown in representatives who were shown possible locations for retail stores at some locations, including Lekki Roundabout, Trade fair Complex and Lagos National Theatre, Iganmu.
But, when the South African retail giant was ready to commence operations in Nigeria, it allegedly sidelined Akande’s AIC and incorporated another company, Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, and began using the new entity to operate in Nigeria, thereby breaching agreements between them.
The billionaire was upset and this led to a prolonged legal battle with Akande securing a 2018 major victory against the South African retail group for breaching a contract between both parties in Suit No LD/488/2010 —AIC Limited (Claimant) v Shoprite Checkers (PTY) Ltd of South Africa and Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited (Defendants).
However, Shoprite owners appealed the judgment but the billionaire has alai win Round 2.
Though the three-man panel of Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, didn’t agree to Akande’s cross-appeal, demanding 50 percent of $92.3 million as loss of profit he suffered due to the incorporation of Retail Supermarkets Limited, it unanimously affirmed the judgment of a Lagos High Court that awarded $10 million (N4.7 billion) damages against Shoprite.
The battle may now move to the Nigeria’s highest court, the Supreme Court.