Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami have been dragged before a Federal High Court in Abuja over alleged award of a 190km rail line construction to a Chinese firm without due process.
They were sued alongside Federal Ministry of Transportation and the benefitting firm, China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC).
Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed fixed February 17, 2022 for hearing of the matter.
Plaintiffs in the suit (FHC/ABJ/CS/1426/2021) are: Duluidas Nigeria Limited; Duliz Dredging and Construction Limited; and Consortium of Duluidas Nigeria Limited, Duliz Dredging and Construction Limited/Hebbelyixin Fastener Company Limited, China.
In their writ of summons issued by their lead counsel, James Okoh, the plaintiffs are asking the Federal High Court to cancel the “No Objection” letter issued by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in favour of CCECC for award of the N91.5 billion rail line contract, in breach of procurement laws, and re-issue same in their favour.
The disputed contract is for reconstruction of narrow gauge track from Minna in Niger State to Baro, with extension to Baro River Port, to be completed within 36 months.
The plaintiffs prayed the court for an injunction restraining all the defendants from awarding or purporting to award the contract to the Chinese firm or any third party on the basis of the allegedly flawed bidding process.
In the alternative, they sought an order setting aside any purported award on the basis of the alleged flawed and heavily compromised bid process by the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) with concurrence of other defendants.
They also asked for an order restraining the minister of transportation or any of his agents from presenting the CCECC to Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the purpose of awarding the contract.
They are also asking the court to set aside any purported approval received from FEC, awarding the disputed contract to any other company during the pendency of the suit.
The plaintiffs, who claimed to have quoted a lesser amount of N76.7 billion for execution of the same project during bidding, are alleging bias against them by the minister and undue favouritism towards CCECC.(The Guardian)
•PHOTO: Malami and Amaechi