There are reports that a lawsuit against Antigua Airways has been filed in the High Court in Abuja, Nigeria, and this could have repercussions for Antigua and Barbuda.
Information about the court action was first shared on ZDK, as a breaking-news bulletin, on Thursday, March 23.
The radio station reported that two Nigerian businessmen are suing the company – in which the Government of Antigua and Barbuda reportedly has a 20 percent stake.
Reportedly, the suit is being brought against several persons, including Michael Akinola and his company, Marvelous Mike Press Ltd.; Emmanuel Samson, president of the Antigua-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce, and the chamber, itself.
Both claimants allege that they were cut out of the airline deal – after having been instrumental in establishing its launch – and have made other accusations against two of the respondents.
They claim they were told that the airline venture was not viable and carried too high a risk, and were dropped from any further dealings with the company – although they had signed a business agreement on April 1, 2022.
It is alleged that the duo is asking the court for their initial partnership agreement of US$1 million in finder’s fees; 6 percent of the projected audited annual revenue of the airline; and three of the 10 Antigua and Barbuda passports handed over to the investors by the Gaston Browne Administration.
Reports are that the case has been docketed for next Monday, March 27, after having been filed in October 2022.
Residents have noted, with surprise, that litigation began even before the inaugural Antigua Airways flight landed here, to a water-cannon salute, on November 1, 2022. Three other flights – now mired in accusations of “copy-catting” and “duping” of the Cabinet – followed.
“The cargo is probably what forced at least the first flight to happen,” one resident tells REAL News.
Another says, “This is embarrassing to our country… . Soon, and very soon, it will have repercussions.”
Others tell our Newsroom they are not surprised that controversy and lawsuits are now dogging the controversial airline, with one senior government worker noting that “what is done in the dark must come to light.”