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Businessman, Digicel square off over payments

Published: 
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Businessman Sheldon Stephen

Businessman Sheldon Stephen is assuring telecommunications giant Digicel that they will be paid all outstanding monies owed to them.

However, he is urging them to be patient as Lollabee Cellular Ltd is seeking to dissolve the joint ownership arrangement.

Confirming Lollabee Cellular Ltd had been ordered to pay Digicel $8,965,305.14 in August, Stephen stressed it was a company-to-company transaction which remained in abeyance.

Co-owned by Stephen and Abdool Azimullah who remained unreachable yesterday, Stephen said the two were currently before the court with respect to divvying up their assets as they had moved to dissolve the business partnership.

He said Digicel was aware of the matter that had developed last year, following which legal proceedings were initiated.

Responding to media reports which claimed the company had failed to remit the full sum of monies collected during December 2016 to March 2017 to Digicel, Stephen said the company's assets continued to be "tied up" as the matter is being sorted out.

In the default judgement delivered on August 7, the High Court ordered Lollabee Cellular Ltd to pay the money for, "Debt, interest and costs to the date of this judgement together with interest at the statutory rate of five percent per annum after the date of this judgment to the date of payment."

In a statement, Digicel's chief executive officer CEO John Delves said, "At no point in time, since the judgement was handed down by the court has Mr. Stephen, his attorneys or principals of Lollabee made contact to settle the TT $ 9 million owed to Digicel. His statement in the daily newspapers is therefore erroneous."

Stephen countered he was in contact with Delves daily, adding the principal parties were aware of the ongoing court action which had prevented him and Azimullah from moving to settle the dispute.

Urging Digicel to exercise restraint, Stephen said, "My partner and I no longer see eye-to-eye and will be parting ways. Digicel got caught up in the situation as it was a company-to-company transaction."

"I cannot assist them until I know what is going on with my matter as the assets of Lollabee Cellular Ltd remains tied up. Nothing can happen until that is sorted out but they will be paid."

Responding immediately,, Delves said, "The judgement against Lollabee Cellular Ltd. has nothing to to with the assets of the company. It is monies that were collected from Digicel customers and held in trust."

He said the monies were faithfully paid by the public and was supposed to be forwarded to Digicel, and should have been kept separate and apart from income collected from other transactions.