Federal High Court shifts hearing in disputed $3.1b e-Customs Project suit to July

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A federal high court in Abuja on Tuesday shifted the hearing in a suit seeking to stop the decision of the government to enter into a concession agreement in the $3.1bn e-Customs Project with another company after the Federal Executive Council FEC approval of the plaintiff’s company.

Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the hearing date after the plaintiff’s Counsel, Anone Usman confirmed receipt of an application for joinder by an interested party.

Another Company named, Adani Maga System Limited through its counsel Mr Taiwo Abel had in a motion requested the court for it to be joined as an interested party in the suit.

Plaintiffs in the suit, E-Customs HC Project Limited and Bionica Technologies (West Africa) Limited had approached the court to among others, declare that the decisions by the Federal Government and its agent to enter into a concession agreement with the defendants in respect of the e-Customs project is illegal, having been made in gross violation of Section 2 of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission Act 2005.

They also asked the court to declare that e-Customs HC Project limited is the approved and rightful concessionaire for the e-customs project as approved by the Federal Executive Council at its meeting on September 2, 2020, and in line with Section 2 of the Infrastructure Regulatory Concession Commission Act.

The plaintiffs are also seeking an order directing the Federal Government through the AGF, Finance Minister, IRCC and the NCS to the consulate of the e- Customs project with the 1st plaintiff, (E-Customs) as approved by FEC in its September 2020 meeting.

Defendants in the suit are the Federal Government, Attorney General of the Federation AGF, Finance Minister, the Infrastructure Regulatory Concession Commission, Nigeria Customs Service Trade Modernization Project Limited, Huawei Technologies Company Limited African Finance Corporation and the Bergman Security Consultant and Supply Limited.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, Adani Mega Systems Limited had brought a motion on notice pursuant to Order 9 Rule 5 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2019 praying the court to join it as an interested party in the suit.

The company, among others, claimed that the decision of the court, when given, will one way or the other affect its interest in the e-custom project.

Its counsel, Taiwo Abel prayed Justice Ekwo to grant the request of his client in the interest of justice.

The counsel informed the court that the motion on notice has been served on parties in the matter.

After confirming receipt of the motion by the plaintiffs and defendants, Justice Ekwo subsequently fixed July 6 for hearing.

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