Telecommunication giant Celtel Nigeria Limited and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) have been dragged to a Federal High Court in Abuja over allegations of double registration and infringement of a trade name.
The plaintiff, Celtel International Limited, is demanding N3.1 billion as damages for the alleged infringement on its trade name and forgery. as well as the illegal registration of a company with a name similar to that of the plaintiff.
The plaintiff through its counsel, Uzezi Obeuwou is also asking for an order that the Attorney-General of the Federation commences action on any criminal act arising from the suit.
The plaintiff further sought an order restraining the 1st defendant (Celtel Nigeria Limited) from using a similar name Celtel Nigeria Limited or any other name that is likely to confuse or misrepresent the name of the plaintiff to the public.
The plaintiff stated that it was first in time to be incorporated as it was registered on the 25th of April, 1997 whilst Celtel Nigeria Limited was registered on October 27 2006.
He argued that as at the time it was registered there was no legally registered company in the name of Celtel Nigeria Limited and that the purported documents of the registration of Celtel Nigeria Limited are false, contrived and non-existent.
In a witness statement on oath deposed to by Chuks Ejiojor, the General Manager of the plaintiff, he averred that the 1st defendant passed of the plaintiff’s name Celtel International Limited when the 2nd defendant (CAC) went ahead to register it despite the 1st defendant’s discovery of two companies with the name: Celltel Nigeria Limited and Celtel International Limited after a search was conducted at the registry of the 2nd defendant.
He further averred: The plaintiff remains 1st in time to be incorporated as it was registered on April 25,1997, whilst Celtel Nigeria Limited was registered on October 27, 2006.
The form CO1 dated December 1,1995 was contrived as the letter from the acting Chief Registrar of the Customary Court of Appeal Abuja confirmed the 3rd of December was a Sunday and that the court does not do business on Sundays and that the name and signature on the form CO1 used in incorporating Celtel Nigeria Limited does not exist in their records.
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) had earlier in a letter dated October 23, 2007 stated that from their records from November 18,1983 no payment was made in favour of Celltel Nigeria Limited and that no payment was made in favour of Celltel Nigeria Limited as at November 29,1993.
Hearing in the matter has been fixed for March 10 before Justice Evoh Chukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja.