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BREAKING: Court orders FG, other parties to maintain status quo over $300m Abacha loot

Justice Coram. Oko J, of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja today 12th January, 2021, ordered all parties to maintain Status Quo Ante Bellum and not take any steps whatsoever to affect the res, the subject matter of disputes before his court. 

At the resumed hearing, Counsel to the claimant (PPP Advisories Consortium) Dr. Daniel Bwala, urged the court to hear the motion on notice for injunction to restrain the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and the Bureau of Public Procurement from taking any steps in the appointment of a consultant for the monitoring of the implementation of the Tripartite Agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria, the United States of America and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

At the hearing today, the first Defendant, Attorney General of the Federation failed to appear despite being served with the summons as well as the hearing notice twice. The counsel to the 3rd Defendant (Bureau of Public Enterprises), who was present in court urged the court for adjournment to file their Defence. Dr. Daniel Bwala on behalf of the claimant, PPP Advisories Consortium informed the court that unless the court makes an order for status quo to be maintained, the Federal government may proceed and award the consultancy contract to Cleen Foundation who scored the lowest combined Technical and Financial score among the four prequalified consultants.

This action if allowed to take place will most likely dent the image and name of Nigeria in the eyes of the international community and make a mokery of the requirements of competitiveness and transparency required in all Federal Government procurements as outlined by the Bureau of Public Procurement Act, 2007.

The $300 million repartriated to Nigeria is to be used as part of the funding for the completion of the Second Niger Bridge, the Abuja – Kano dualisation and the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway.

The Court consequently made an order for all parties in the action to maintain status quo and not take any steps towards implementing the subject matter of the dispute pending the hearing of the motion on notice slated for 21st of January 2021.

You recall that the Federal government of Nigeria, the United States Government and the Bailiwick of Jersy entered into a tripartite agreement for the implementation of the 300 million dollars ABATCHA LOOT on the condition that the funds would be used for the purpose of the 3 major road projects aforementioned.

The federal government sent out an invitation for consultants to submit proposals to the Federal Ministry of Justice, whereupon, the claimant PPP Advisories Consortium was among the 4 prequalified firms among the 17 firms that responded to the request for prequalification. After the evaluation of the financial proposals of the 4 prequalified consultants, the claimants PPP ADVISORIES CONSORTIUM secured the highest combined Technical and Financial score and therefore ought to have been awarded the contract instead of Cleen Foundation which got the least combined Technical and Financial score among the four prequalified consultants.

The procurement panel of Federal government arbitrarily disqualified the claimant and recommended the firm that came 4th (Cleen Foundation) as the preferred bidder to be awarded the contract. This our clients found both curious and unacceptable.

The claimant filed an action in court challenging the legality or otherwise of the federal government’s decision, having regard to the tripartite agreement, and Nigeria’s extant procurement laws, processes and procedures. The case has been adjourned to the 21st of January for hearing.

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