Nigerian start-up sues foreign firms over €1.3m contract
A start-up, Agriconnekt Services, has dragged two international agencies and a Nigerian firm before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and a High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State over an alleged breach of contract.
The start-up, Agriconnekt Services, alleges that Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, a German agency simply identified as GIZ; a US non-profit, Mercy Corps; and Nigeria’s CoAmana breached a contract and diverted 1.3 million euros, an amount which Agriconnekt has a share in.
Agriconnekt is, therefore, seeking $450,000 in damages as well as the payment of an additional in addition $758,000, which the firm claimed was indicated in a budget to be allotted to it from a project called “Smartdevelopmenthack,” organised by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development alongside team Europe and its partners and implemented by GIZ—also known as the German Agency for international cooperation and development.
The firm, in a statement by its CEO, Dr. Brain Iweh, said, “After an intensive hackathon online, Agriconnekt emerged as one of the nine global winners but GIZ, in collaboration with Mercy Corps, replaced Agriconnekt with a company called “Coamana” which was never one of the nine global winners selected for the project after the intensive competition.”
It added that eight global winners in other countries received their funds and have started implementing their various projects, but Agriconnekt was denied the funds as one of the duly selected global winners of the competition and was removed for various reasons.
Iweh said the alleged reasons given for Agriconnekt’s removal was that the firm might not be able to manage the resources and deliver the project being an early-stage start-up
He said, “Whereas, Agriconnekt provided the solution, pitched to the judges, and fully participated in the entire process to get its Food Security and Digital Agriculture value chain solution to win, thus the project. Also, during the call for solutions as advertised, GIZ specified that start-ups are allowed to apply, and while filling up the application form, Agriconnekt also identified that they are an early-stage start-up.”