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Court dismisses suit challenging appointment of consultant to monitor Abacha loot



Nigeria govt, US finalise agreement on repatriation of $308m Abacha loot

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, dismissed a suit challenging the appointment of a consultant to monitor the spending of the $311 million recovered from the family of the late former Head of State, Sani Abacha.

The suit was filed by three organizations – PPP Advisories, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Issa Shuaibu & Co. (as PPP Advisories Consortium) through their counsel, Daniel Bwala.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata (SAN), Chairman, Ministerial Tenders Board); and Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) were listed as respondents in the suit.

In a writ of summon marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1449/2020, the claimants urged the court to declare that their disqualification by the respondents via a letter dated July 28, 2020, wherein the claimants Technical/Financial Bids submitted were not adjudged responsive due to the fact that the lead partner is not a registered Civil Society Organization (CSO) is wrongful, illegal and void.”

They averred that having satisfied the requirement on the Request for Proposal (RFP) for monitoring of the implementation of the tripartite agreement for the sharing, transfer, disposition, repatriation, and management of forfeited assets and the entire bidding process the court should declare that the procuring entity can no longer disqualify their technical bid after the pre-qualification of the technical and issuance of letter of invitation for financial bid opening.

READ ALSO: Abacha a great man for creating Bayelsa – Diri

They also sought a court declaration that their disqualification “based on a petition by one of the bidders without confronting the claimants with the petition is against the principle of fair hearing,” among others.

In his ruling, Justice Inyang Ekwo held that the suit lacked merit as there was no credible evidence to support the case.

He said: “I have said that this court is deciding this case upon its peculiar facts and circumstances.

“This type of action is such that must succeed on its own strength and not on the weakness or failure of the defence.

“I can safely say at this point that I am unable to ascribe probative value to the documentary evidence in this case.

“My finding, therefore, is that there is no credible evidence to support this case and it fails and I so hold.

“I make an order dismissing this case for lack of credible evidence.

“This is the judgement of this court.”

The money in question was repatriated from the United States and Bailiwick of Jersey to Nigeria in February 2020.

Part of the conditions for the release of the fund to Nigeria was that the federal government would appoint independent bodies to monitor how the money is being spent.

In line with the tripartite agreement between the federal government and the two countries, the $311million was earmarked for three landmark projects – the 2nd Niger Bridge, the Abuja-Kano Expressway, and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

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