The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered the prompt hearing of a suit challenging the appointment of a consultant for the monitoring and implementation of the 300 million dollars allegedly looted by late General Sani Abacha, a one time Nigerian head of State.
It would be recalled that the money was recently repatriated to Nigeria following a tripartite agreement between the United States of America (USA) and Bailiwick of Jersey.
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, who gave the order after parties filed relevant processes for and against the suit, warned them against acts that could hamper the litigation process.
Those who have filed their notice of preliminary objections challenging the jurisdiction of the court to adjudicate on the matter. include Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General of the Federation (SGF): Mr Dayo Akpata, SAN, and the Bureau of Public Procurement
Counsel to the AGF, Oyin Koleosho, moved an application for his process to be regularised.
Counsel to the plaintiff (PPP Advisories Consortium), Daniel Bwala, and Mohammed Nuhu who appeared for the Bureau of Public Procurement, did not oppose the application.
Although Bwala had intended moving his motion for an injunction against the defendants, Justice Ekwo said it was better that the court gives the matter accelerated hearing.
The application was consequently granted following an agreement by all the counsel to the suit.
The judge adjourned the matter until Feb. 16 and 17 for hearing.
The condition for repatriation of the fund was that it would be used to fund the completion of the 2nd Niger Bridge, the Abuja-Kano dualization and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
As a result, the Federal Government sent out an invitation for consultants to submit proposals to the Federal Ministry of Justice, whereupon, the claimant, PPP Advisories Consortium was among the four pre-qualified firms out of the 17 firms that responded to the request for pre-qualification.
However, Cleen Foundation got the contract.
Not satisfied with the outcome, the claimants; PPP Advisories, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Issa Shuaibu and Co (PPP Advisories Consortium) approached the court to challenge the legality of the Federal Government’s decision.
They prayed the court to make an order setting aside the decision of the procurement panel adjudging its technical and financial proposal as non-responsive, among others.