BY CHARLES LAITON
Government-owned telecommunications firm, TelOne (Pvt) Limited, has been taken to the High Court by a Singaporean Stock Exchange-listed company, Singapore Telecommunications Limited, which is seeking an order to compel the local company to settle a US$195 419 debt.
Singapore Telecommunications Limited is an international firm engaged in the operation and provision of telecommunications systems, including transponder lease services to various companies in the world.
According to court papers recently filed by Singapore Telecommunications, it indirectly provided TelOne with a satellite transponder lease service on the west hemisphere beam on the ABS-2/ST-3 satellite from November 13, 2015 to March 8, 2017. The firm further said during the material time, TelOne (Pvt) Ltd had a contract with an entity called ABS who, in turn, subcontracted Singapore Telecommunications to provide the service. However, the contract between ABS and TelOne was terminated on March 8, 2017 when the service subcontract between Singapore Telecommunications and ABS was simultaneously terminated.
“During the period March 8, 2017 to June 26, 2017, the defendant (TelOne) utilised the plaintiff’s (Singapore Telecommunications) services aforesaid and paid the costs to ABS, notwithstanding the termination of the contract. ABS remitted to the plaintiff the service costs paid by the defendant for the transponder lease service,” the firm said.
“During the period June 27, 2017 to December 29, 2017, the defendant utilised the plaintiff’s transponder lease service aforesaid for the purposes of providing satellite services in Zimbabwe.”
Apparently, Singapore Telecommunications said although it did not enter into an agreement with TelOne for the transponder lease service, TelOne, however, did not pay for the services rendered to it despite having acknowledged liability and undertaking to pay for the services.
“The reasonable value of the fees and charges for the services as at December 29, 2017 amounted to US$195 419, 65. The defendant has been unjustly enriched at the expense of the plaintiff and the plaintiff thereby impoverished in the said sum,” Singapore Telecommunications said.
However, in response to the claim, TelOne requested for further particulars, seeking to understand if Singapore Telecommunications’ claim for unjust and enrichment was solely based on the fact that Singapore Telecommunications and ABS’s subcontract was simultaneously terminated.
TelOne said it also wanted to understand if there were some additional bases and or whether its alleged acknowledgment and undertaking was in writing? If so, they requested for a copy of the same agreement. In its response, Singapore Telecommunications said; “The particulars requested herein are not necessary to enable the defendant to plead”.
The matter is pending.