A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday summoned Rural Electrification Agency (REA) Managing Director, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad and four directors of private companies.
The charges of breach of Public Procurement Act were pressed by Donnington Ltd against Velocity Logistics, Winslow Logistics, Equal Logistics, Sahams Crystal Investment, and Antaser Nig Ltd.
The other defendants are Alkali Habib (a Director in TAJ Bank), Edwin Iyk Anyadigibe, Abdulmumini Haruna and Innocent Nwobodo.
Ahmad and the rest are facing a 10 count-charge bordering on violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act including non-declaration of companies’ financial transactions.
Their alleged offences violated Section 5 (1) (a) (I) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act of 2011, and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b) of the same Act.
The prosecution counsel, Bala Sanga said the plaintiff relied on the 2022 decision of the Supreme Court in the case of RAPHAEL OBIJIAKU V CHIEF JOE OBIJIAKU which empowers citizens to prosecute crimes.
Defence lawyer to Antaser, Abdul Mohammed argued against the propriety of the case, saying it was not within the power of the plaintiff to prosecute without a fiat from the Attorneys-General.
However, counsel to Velocity Logistics, Winslow Logistics, Equal Logistics and Sahams Crystal Investment, Mohammed Ndarahi (SAN) pleaded for time to open their case, citing late commission by his clients.
Justice James Kolawole Omotosho adjourned the case concerning Velocity Logistics, Winslow Logistics, Equal Logistics and Sahams Crystal Investment to June 19.
The judge also ordered that their directors be physically present on the day, while he fixed June 29 for that of Antasar and its director, Nwobodo.
The plaintiff had, through its MD, Mohammad Sani, narrated how they got a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari to take up the newly-introduced Cargo Tracking Note.
The note is aimed at securing seaports and shorelines against terrorism, shipments of illegal weapons, other sharp practices and also generate revenue for the federal government.
“Notwithstanding our financial commitment and satisfying all the legal procurement requirements, the Bureau of Public Procurement refused us the Certificate of No-Objection, in defiance of the Attorney-General’s directive.
“Instead, the BPP Director-General issued the No-Objection Certificates to the five companies that were not in the picture from inception.”
The plaintiff urged the government not to condone contraventions of the Money Laundering Act and non-compliance with statutory provisions by company directors chasing government contracts.