The judge presiding over the legal battle between Econet Wireless and its Nigerian partners in the Lagos High Court has ruled that the case should go to full trial on an accelerated basis and has set aside three days during which the court will hear Econet's submissions to have the sale of V-Mobile to Celtel/MTC cancelled due to alleged breach of contract by the Nigerian partners.

Econet says that in a hearing held in Lagos on 20th July 2006, High Court Judge O. Olateru-Olagbeji also ruled that Econet could amend its claim to include evidence that there had not only been a breach of contract but also a conspiracy to deny the company transaction documents which were needed for them to be able to successfully acquire V Mobile.

Remarking from the bench, the judge said that the case was a high profile case that was being watched by the "whole world" and should be tried on an "accelerated basis". The judge, who had come back from leave to issue the ruling, set aside dates in 27th October and 3rd, 10th and 17th of November for the full court hearing. These are the first available dates after the Nigerian judiciary comes back from their annual vacation.

Econet has asked the Nigerian Court to reverse the sale of 65% of V Mobile to Celtel Nigeria, a subsidiary of Kuwaiti operator MTC. Econet alleges that it had right of pre- emption to buy the shares, and that the V Mobile shareholders breached an agreement to allow it to follow its rights over an offer made by Celtel.

Cellular News