Court Stops Amaechi, Others From Appointing International Cargo Tracking Note Operators

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JUSTICE D. U. Okorowo of a Federal High Court in Abuja has stopped the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPE) from nominating any company or entity as operators of the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN).

The order of the court was sequel to an ex parte motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1587/2021 filed by the Incorporated Trustees of Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER) complaining about the official malfeasance associated with the ongoing process of appointing an implementation agent for the ICTN.

A copy of the order obtained by journalists in Abuja recently specifically restrained Medtech Scientific Limited and Rozi International Nigeria Limited (4th and 5th defendants) or their agents from parading themselves or functioning as operators of ICTN in Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.Justice Okorowo granted the interim orders against the defendants pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the plaintiffs.The motion ex parte dated December 9, 2021, but filed on December 13, was supported by an affidavit sworn to by the Executive Director of CASER, Frank Tietie, and accompanied by a written address.

After listening to A.U Mustapha (SAN), for the plaintiff/applicant, Justice Okorowo granted an order of interim injunction restraining the second defendant (BPP), “either by itself, servants, agents, privies or through any person or persons howsoever described or termed from appointing the 4th and fifth defendants as the operators of the International Cargo Tracking System in Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

The judge also gave an order of interim injunction “restraining the second defendant; either by itself, servants, agents, privies or through any person or persons howsoever described or termed from giving further approvals and waivers to the firsst defendant (Minister, Federal Ministry of Transport) in the planned appointment of the fourth and fifth defendants as the operators of the International Cargo Tracking System (ICTN) in Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

He also issued an order of interim injunction “restraining all the defendants either by themselves or through their officials or agents or any other person or persons howsoever from taking further steps towards nominating any company or entity to be operators of the International Cargo Tracking System in Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

The case has been adjourned till January 12, 2022, for arguments on the motion on notice. Tietie had explained that CASER instituted the case out of concern for Nigeria’s internal security following the massive inflow of small arms and light weapons through Nigerian seaports. According to him, CASER was also concerned that Nigeria loses billions of dollars following the improper tracking of cargo exports and imports.The overall goal of the case by CASER, he said, was to simply ensure compliance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act in line with international best practices and standards in the procurement of such security-sensitive services.

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