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M-Pesa Foundation in court over contract dispute.

A contractor has moved to court to protesting M-Pesa Foundation Academy’s refusal to have an arbitrator from presiding over a dispute in which he is demanding Sh143 million for work done on the school between January 2015 and June 2016.

In his objection, Lalji Meghji Patel & Company, who was fired midway through construction of the Sh3 billion school in Thika, says an application filed by the Safaricom’s elite school was a ploy to delay the case.

Last year, moved to court seeking stop the arbitrator, Mr Tom Oketch, from presiding over a dispute. They argued that Lalji waived his right to pursue arbitration after agreeing to settlement talks, and that Mr Oketch’s appointment was irregular as the school was not given a chance to voice its opinion on the decision.

However, the contractor says the clause on the arbitration is binding to both parties in the dispute and argues that it resorted to that option after talks failed to bear any fruit.

After they fell out in 2016, the school terminated Lalji’s contract and they both did a joint inspection of the works that had been done by Lalji but failed to agree on how much was owed to the contractor.

Following the deadlock, Lalji notified M-Pesa Academy of a dispute to be referred to arbitration.

The two parties could, however, not agree on who to preside over the proceedings.

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