January 27, 2021

Court halts process of hiring consultant to monitor spending of $311m Abacha Loot

Court halts process of hiring consultant to monitor spending of 1m Abacha Loot

A federal high court in Abuja has restrained Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, from appointing a consultant to monitor the spending of $311 million Abacha Loot which was recovered on May 4, 2020.

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The funds were repatriated from the United States and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

The federal government had committed the funds to support the construction of the Second Niger bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressways and the Mambilla Power Plant in accordance with the repatriation agreement.

A technical bid was set up by the asset recovery and management unit of the ministry of justice to select and engage civil society organisations that would oversee the implementation of the projects to ensure transparency and CLEEN Foundation, a Nigerian-based CSO, was selected.

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However, PPP Advisories Consortium, a firm which submitted proposals during the technical bid, sued the AGF and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

According to the firm, 17 firms had submitted proposals but only four were qualified.

PPP Advisories Consortium which was among the four qualified firms claimed that CLEEN Foundation scored the lowest combined technical and financial score among the all four qualified consultants.

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At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Daniel Bwala, counsel to PPP Advisories Consortium, prayed the court to restrain the AGF and BPP “from taking further 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.”

Balawa submitted that the action of the AGF “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 mockery of the requirements for competitiveness and transparency in all federal government procurements as outlined by the Bureau of Public Procurement Act, 2007.”

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Ruling on the application, Inyang Ekwo, presiding judge, ordered all parties to maintain status quo, taking no further steps whatsoever in the matter pending the hearing and determination of the main suit before the court.

The case has been adjourned till January 21 for hearing.

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