Miss Ethiopia Organiser Threatens Sponsor with Court


By Aderajew Asfaw
Posted to the web on August 10, 2010

 

August 10, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) - Ethiopian Village Adventure Playground (EVAP) is to wait until Thursday, August 12, 2010, to see whether Yangfan will award a Lifan 320 to the newest Miss Ethiopia; them failing to do so might result in being taken to court while Yangfan, in turn, threatened to sue EVAP for defamation.

The Miss Ethiopia pageant was held at the Hilton Addis on July 24, 2010, with Lifan Motors, owned by Yangfan Motors, indicated as the title sponsor. Melkam Michael, a second year law student at Addis Abeba University (AAU), was crowned the winner after a competition of three rounds. The judges, who included artists Mulatu Astatke and Meseret Mebrate, had given equal points to three of the finalists but Melkam was selected after the three were asked questions by the judges.

EVAP had promised that the winner of the pageant would be awarded a brand new Lifan 320 and 25,000 Br. However, as the organiser and the sponsor are entangled in a dispute, it is uncertain whether Melkam will get her car.

Yangfan Motors had expressed interest to award its new model car to the winner because she would be representing Ethiopia at the Miss World pageant in South Africa and she would help the company to promote itself, according to Murad Mohammed, director of EVAP.

“One company will get title sponsorship if and only if it offers more than what other companies offer,” Murad said.

Yangfan took his copy of the written document without him knowing, and he has been unable to regain possession of it, Murad said.

“It is not the 18th or 19th century where people only agree on something orally,” he said.

Yangfan Motors rejects the claims of EVAP, denying the existence of a written agreement between the two parties, according to William Wong, marketing manager of Yangfan Motors.

“There was no agreement to cancel,” Wong said. “We will not ask EVAP to pay us a fine or compensation because we did not have a [written] agreement.”

There was only an oral agreement between the two sides wherein Yangfan offered EVAP a discount on the Lifan 320 in exchange for EVAP to promote the car company, according to Wong.

“We did not agree to give them a car and because EVAP did not carry out its responsibilities, we are not going to give them any discount,” he said.


Melkam Michael, a second year law student at Addis Abeba University, was crowned the winner after a competition of three rounds.

Yangfan Motors had sent EVAP a letter on April 23, 2010, complaining that they had failed to promote the company on public media and billboards. The company demanded that the problems be corrected within one week or it would be “forced to cancel our entitled agreement of cooperation,” according to the letter.

It would also seek 500 Br in compensation for each breach of contract, the company said in the letter that was signed by Lei Lei, a Yangfan representative. It further indicated that the two sides had entered into a contractual agreement on February 18, 2010, for Yangfan to sell a car to EVAP.

Upon hearing of Yangfan’s withdrawal from the pageant on Ethiopia Link, an entertainment programme on Radio Fana, on May 8, EVAP had contacted the company, which distanced itself from the radio report and the preparation for the pageant then proceeded on a verbal agreement, according to Murad.

When EVAP learned of Yangfan’s decision on radio, they were only two days from beginning promotional work that included factory and city tours, according to Mike Melake, the event coordinator.

“The car was promised to the winner and it should be given to her,” Mike told Fortune. “The dispute is between Yangfan and EVAP and the winner is not a part of it. If the car is not given to her, it will be a failure for Yangfan, EVAP, and the industry.”

“The government has to take measures,” he said.

Murad denies any knowledge of how Yangfan ended up with both copies of the contract, although the later denies that there was any contract about a free car. EVAP will decide how and when to proceed to court after the award ceremony on Thursday, August 12.

The company is free from any obligation to give the winner the car because it has been made clear to the contestants that the winner is to receive the car from Yangfan, according to Murad.

“I would be happy if I get the promised car,” said Melkam.

However, she is still happy to have become the new Miss Ethiopia, she said.



 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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