P.A. diamond company wants debt dispute moved to Belgian court

By Glenn Hicks
January 19, 2018 - 5:00pm

A Prince Albert company embroiled in a lengthy lawsuit over a big diamond purchase is being accused of throwing up roadblocks in the legal proceedings.

Embee Diamond Tech, which is run by P.A. city councillor Evert Botha, lost a recent appeal court ruling and was told to pay I.D.H. Diamonds of Belgium for the precious stones it supplied them. That debt, which is nearing three years in arrears, now stands at over $850,000 when interest is added.

“Essentially at this point it’s my view that counsel for Embee is just throwing up procedural roadblocks,” Jennifer Pereira, lawyer for I.D.H. told paNOW. She said Embee’s lawyer is introducing two motions next month which she will oppose. Both motions would likely involve requesting the dispute be resolved through the Belgian court system.

Embee attempted to have I.D.H.’s claim struck by the courts in Saskatoon earlier last year, arguing the statute of limitations expired, but the debt was upheld by Justice Donald Layh in a June decision.

Embee then took that ruling to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal in Regina in September where the appeal was dismissed and the initial ruling upheld.

“…the limitation period had not expired,” Justice Neal Caldwell wrote in his ruling. “As such, we find no reason to set aside the Chambers judge’s decision.”

Pereira said despite the comments of Justice Layh and the Court of Appeal “Embee continues to deny funds are owing.” Embee’s counsel has now moved to have matters resume in Court of Queens Bench in Prince Albert next month.

“On Feb. 13 I.D.H. in Prince Albert will be re-advancing its summary judgment application, so once again [saying] ‘look court, this is so simple. We gave them (Embee) some diamonds, they owe us some money, make an order for the amount owing,’” Pereira said.

But it doesn’t appear that straight forward with Pereira saying Embee’s counsel will now present two new motions to the court.

One of [Embee’s] defences she said, is that Saskatchewan is not the proper forum for the dispute to be heard and they’re now alleging the courts of Belgium should apply.

“We will be disputing that; we think we will be successful,” Pereira said.

She added Embee wants to go to Europe to cross examine an officer of I.D.H. who wrote an affidavit supporting documentation of money in arrears. 

“They’ve tried everything to say they don’t owe us any money and now they’ve picked something out of the sky and they’re now throwing that at us,” Pereira said.

Embee’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment after the appeal court ruling late last year and was not immediately available for comment following the latest news of the resumption of legal matters in P.A. Feb. 13.

 

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