The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered accelerated hearing in a suit challenging the appointment of a consultant for the monitoring and implementation of the 300 million dollars allegedly looted by the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.
The money was recently repatriated to Nigeria through a tripartite agreement between the United States of America (USA) and Bailiwick of Jersey.
Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the order after parties filed relevant processes for and against the suit.
The judge also warned the parties not to do anything that would destroy the res (subject matter of litigation) before the court.
He reminded them to take into consideration the fact that they had subjected themselves to the jurisdiction of the court.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF); the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General of the Federation (SGF): Dayo Akpata, SAN, (sued as Chairman Ministerial Tenders Board) and the Bureau of Public Procurement have all filed their notice of preliminary objections challenging the jurisdiction of the court to adjudicate on the matter.
Counsel to the AGF, Oyin Koleosho, moved an application for his process to be regularised.
Counsel for 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 to give the matter accelerated hearing.
The application was consequently granted following agreement by all the counsel to the suit.
The judge adjourned the matter until Feb. 16 and 17 for hearing.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Federal Government, the U.S. government and the Bailiwick of Jersey had entered into a tripartite agreement for the implementation of the 300 million dollars, allegedly looted fund on the condition that the money would be used as part of the funding for the completion of the 2nd Niger Bridge, the Abuja-Kano dualisation 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 or otherwise 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.