Abuja’s Federal High Court on Friday dismissed a lawsuit against Federation Attorney General AGF and Justice Minister Abubakar Malami and others, challenging the appointment of a consultant to monitor spending of the $ 311 million repatriated. booty from the former head of state, Sani Abacha.
Judge Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, ruled that the lawsuit was unfounded because there was no credible evidence to support the case.
“I said that this court decides this case on the basis of its particular facts and circumstances.
“This type of action is such that it must succeed on its own strength and not on the weakness or failure of the defense.
“I can safely say at this point that I am unable to place any probative value on the documentary evidence in this case.
“So my conclusion is that there is no credible evidence to support this case and it fails and I stand by it.
“I make an order dismissing this case for lack of credible evidence.
“This is the judgment of this court,” Judge Ekwo said.
The PPP Advisory, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center, the CISLAC and Issa Shuaibu & Co. (as the PPP Advisories Consortium) are respectively the 1st and 3rd applicants.
The plaintiffs, through their lawyer, Daniel Bwala, sued AGF and the Minister of Justice; the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata, SAN (President, Ministerial Procurement Council); and the Public Procurement Office, BPP, respectively as the first to the third defendant in the case.
In a subpoena marked: FHC / ABJ / CS / 1449/2020, the plaintiffs requested the court to declare that their challenge “by the defendants, as communicated by a letter dated July 28, 2020, in which the Applicants submitted were not found to be compliant due to the fact that the lead partner is not a registered civil society organization (CSO) is unlawful, illegal and void.
They asserted that having satisfied the requirement of the RFP for monitoring the implementation of the tripartite agreement for the sharing, transfer, disposal, repatriation and management of confiscated goods and the whole bidding process, they urged the court to declare that the procuring entity can no longer disqualify its technical bid after the prequalification of the technical bid and the issuance of the letter of invitation to the opening of financial offers.
They also requested a court declaration that their disqualification “on the basis of a request from one of the bidders without confronting the claimants with the request is contrary to the principle of a fair trial”, among others.
The plaintiffs therefore requested a court order, “quashing the decision of the public procurement committee finding the plaintiffs’ technical and financial proposal non-compliant.”
“An order directing the defendants to issue a letter declaring the plaintiffs as the winning bidder and inviting the plaintiffs to negotiate, obtained the highest combined technical and financial score and therefore became the winner of the bid.”
They also requested the court to award the sum of fifty million naira as the cost of the lawsuit, and the 10 percent of the sum of the judgment to be granted by the court per year until its liquidation.
They asserted, inter alia, that the 1st Applicant is a business name registered in Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission (hereinafter referred to as CAC) which provides advisory services for procurement, finance and development activities. ‘infrastructure.
NAN reports that the court ruled on January 27 that it would give the prosecution an expedited hearing.
The court warned the parties not to do anything to thwart the subject matter of the lawsuit.
The applicants, who said they were better qualified as a monitoring consultant, contested the choice of the CLEEN Foundation to perform the contract.
The defendants, in their notice of preliminary objections, challenged the court’s jurisdiction to adjudicate the case, urging the court to dismiss the action
NAN reports that approximately $ 311 million in Abacha loot was repatriated from the United States of America and the Bailiwick of Jersey in Nigeria in February 2020.
Part of the conditions for releasing the fund in Nigeria was that the expenditures to be spent on agreed public projects should be monitored by independent bodies.
In accordance with the tripartite agreement between the governments of Nigeria and the two foreign countries, the federal government has allocated funds to three flagship projects: the 2nd Niger Bridge, the Abuja-Kano highway and the Lagos-Ibadan highway.
It also set up a competitive bidding process with 17 organizations that have expressed interest in monitoring the fund’s expenditures.
On December 24, 2020, the Federation’s Attorney General’s Office (AGF) announced that a civil society organization, the CLEEN Foundation, had won the contract.
But one of the bidders, the PPP Advisories Consortium, through its complaint filed before the outcome of the bidding process was made public, challenged the selection process.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit filed on November 3, 2020, argued that he was refused the contract despite having obtained the highest combined technical and financial scores in the tender.
He argued that the federal government arbitrarily disqualified him and “recommended the company that ranked 4th (CLEEN Foundation) as the preferred bidder for contract award.”
He added that the federal government had chosen to award the contract to the CLEEN Foundation “which obtained the lowest combined technical and financial score among the four prequalified consultants”.
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