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School board loses legal proceedings against public utility company Aqualectra

The “Stichting Rooms-Katholiek Centraal Schoolbestuur” (RKCS) (Foundation Roman Catholic Central School Board) lost lengthy legal proceedings against public utility company Aqualectra yesterday.

The Court of First Instance of Curaçao ordered RKCS to pay over 1.2 million guilders in respect of overdue water and electricity bills. Twelve percent contractual interest also has to be paid annually on the outstanding debt the RKCS has with Aqualectra.

Judge Van Schendel gave a judgment in the case yesterday. The proceedings between the RKCS and Aqualectra have been pending since the start of this year. Reason for the legal dispute is arrears in payment of the RKCS that, according to Aqualectra, amounted to around 1.3 million guilders in mid-2009. The school board that supervises 119 schools, claimed in the legal proceedings that Aqualectra had to meet them halfway on various points in order to arrive at a workable redemption of the debt. Only with regard to a requested prohibition to disconnect schools without announcement, did the Court rule in favor of  RKCS. If Aqualectra wishes to disconnect schools from water and power now, it has to notify RKCS at least fourteen days in advance by process server, according to the judgment. The Court ruled with regard to all other defenses of RKCS that the debt of the school board to Aqualectra had not become prescribed. The Court also dismissed RKCS’ defense that Aqualectra should be prohibited from disconnecting schools as long as a payment schedule of 23,500 guilders was paid by RKCS each month; for, according to the Court, this payment schedule does not have a legal ground.

Lawyer Stefan Hoeben of law firm HBN Law assisted the RKCS in the proceedings. Hoeben states that the school board will appeal from the judgment. “The RKCS is disappointed about the outcome of these proceedings and notably about the considerations of the judge that led to this for the RKCS disappointing judgment,” Hoeben said. For the time being, the RKCS has to pay the 1.2 million in arrears in payment with the interest belonging thereto as well as the costs of the proceedings that amount to almost fifteen thousand guilders.

Source: local newspaper “Antilliaans Dagblad” dated 26 October 2010

Aqualectra was represented by Mayesi Hammoud and Yvo Peters of the law firm VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010 00:48

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