FG to defy court order on $60m cargo tracking contract award

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Indications have emerged that the Federal Government may defy an order by a Federal High Court barring parties from taking further steps in relation to the award of the disputed $60million International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN) contract initiated by the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

A Federal High Court in Abuja had earlier issued an order restraining the former Minister from taking any further step on the contract award pending the resolution of a suit instituted against him and some others in respect of the contract.

However, a memo prepared by the Federal Ministry of Transportation indicated that the issue of the contract will be tabled before the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting slated for this Wednesday for possible approval and award.

The memo sighted by our correspondent on Monday, is marked: EC(2022) and was signed by Amaechi on April 12, 2022, but received at the office of the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Affairs Office on April 20, 2022.

The memo is titled: “Memorandum for approval for the implementation of International Cargo Tracking Note in Nigeria through public private partnership arrangement.”

It reads in part: “The purpose of this memorandum is to seek the consideration and approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the implementation of International Cargo Tracking Note In Nigeria by Messrs MTS Cargo & Logistics Limited through Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) Public Private Partnership arrangement at an initial capital Investment currently modelled at the sum sixty million dollars (US$60,000,000) to be funded 100% through equity by the company for a concession period of 15 years.”

It added that the arrangement provides for “a revenue sharing ratio of 92.5per cent: 7per cent in favour of the Federal Government represented by the Nigerian Shippers Council and Private Consortium respectively: after deduction of processing cost as well as the Full Business Case (FBC) for the project. ”

The plaintiff in the suit before the Federal High Court, the Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER) is concerned that Amaechi was still working behind the scene to have the contract process concluded while their suit is pending.

CASER had, in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1587/2021, accused Amaechi of among others, manipulating the contract award process in favour of two local and inexperienced firms – Medtech Scientific Limited and Rozi International Nigeria Limited, who are also defendants in the case.

Other defendants in the case, in which the plaintiff are praying the court to void the selection of Medtech and Rozi, are the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF)

During a recent hearing in the case, lawyer to the plaintiff, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN) accused Amaechi of being in contempt, noting that he has taken some fundamental steps in respect of the contract award despite a pending order for maintenance of status quo issued on January 22, 2022.

Following the complaint by Mustapha, Justice Donatus Okorowo elected to first deal with the issue of alleged contempt and ordered parties to file necessary processes.

Though the case was transferred to another judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed for hearing during the court’s last Easter holiday on the request by Amaechi, it has now been returned to Justice Okorowo who has now scheduled hearing for later this month.

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