The Office of the Attorney General (AG) has lost its appeal over a US$10 million lawsuit for the maintenance of the Air Guard’s helicopter fleet.
Delivering an oral decision at the end of a brief appeal at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain yesterday, Appellate Judges Gregory Smith and Andre Des Vignes ruled that High Court Judge Avason Quinlan-Williams was correct to award a default judgment to Cobham Helicopter Services Limited in May.
Smith and Des Vignes agreed with Quinlan-Williams’ decision to reject claims from the AG’s Office that the contract was not valid at it did not receive approval from the Central Tenders Board.
Both judges agreed that the contract was exempt as it fell under Section 20A (1F) of the Central Tenders Board Act, which does not require board involvement for goods and services to be provided to the T&T Defence Force, with Government approval.
They ruled that even if the contract was not valid, the State was still obligated to pay as it had accepted goods and services which it had requested.
“Once you benefited, you must pay,” Smith said.
As a result of the decision, the State was ordered to pay the United Kingdom-based company US$10,638,000, as well as its legal costs for bringing the lawsuit.