A firm, Adani Mega Systems Limited, seeking to be joined in the ongoing $3.1 billion e-customs project suit in the Federal High Court Abuja, has accused the Federal Government of acting unlawfully in awarding the contract as there are several pending suits on the matter before other courts.
In a motion on notice brought before the court by counsel of the firm, Taiwo Abe, the company while seeking to be joined in the matter listed the pending cases and described the government’s action as sub judice.
The firm averred that it would be affected by the outcome of the ongoing matter while listing some of the pending cases it claimed were on and related which are concerned with the automation of the Nigeria Customs Service.
Adani Mega Systems Limited, through its lawyer, wrote, “The purported Federal Executive Council approval of 2nd September 2020 and the signing of the contract award to the Defendants for automation of the activities of the Nigeria Customs Service E-customs, when an action pending is clearly sub judice, pre-emptive of the court’s decision, illegal, unlawful and done to steal a match against the applicant.”
According to him, the subject matter of this instant suit is the same contract which was awarded to the Party/Applicant seeking to be joined by virtue of the “Project Engagement Mandate from the Central Bank of Nigeria dated the 16th day of February 2017 and a Build, Operate and Own Agreement dated the 20th day of March 2017 and the Party/Applicant, seeking to be joined holds a valid and duly executed contract with the Technical Committee of the Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS), which included the 1st to the 5th Defendants/Respondents and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, as the Service Provider/Vendor for the Enterprise Screening Platform for the inspection of all inbound and outbound cargo as prescribed by Nigerian law.”
He further stated that, “By virtue of the relevant laws of Nigeria, only the Central Bank of Nigeria through the Technical Committee set up for that purpose has the mandate, power and authority to administer the provisions of the Pre-Shipment Inspection of Exports Act and the Pre-Shipment Inspection of Imports Act and it is in furtherance of this powers that the Central Bank of Nigeria, through the Technical Committee set up for that purpose, engaged the services of the Party/Applicant seeking to be joined for the provision of the scanning services infrastructure and Octopus required for inspection of all inbound and outbound cargo as required by law in Nigeria.
“That in compliance with the relevant due process laws of Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria sought and obtained a letter of No Objection from the Bureau of Public Procurement with regards to the contract between the Claimant and the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Technical Committee of the Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS).
“That the Central Bank of Nigeria, without any legal ground, reason or Justification, purportedly terminated the said valid, legal contract on the 18th day of September 2017, which illegal, unlawful, invalid termination is now subject to several litigations before the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division, from the first being Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/850/2017 – ADANI MEGA SYSTEMS LIMITED VS. HON. MINISTER OF FINANCE & ORS.
“That the Honourable Presiding Judge – Honourable Justice BFM Nyako on the 6th day of November 2018, made an order referring the matter to arbitration at the International Dispute Resolution Institute for Mediation and/or Arbitration. This order was later varied on the 21st of December, 2018
“With the current Defendants for automation of the activities of the Nigerian Custom Service e-customs, when three actions are pending is clearly sub judice, pre-emptive of the Court’s decision, illegal, unlawful and done to steal a match against the Applicant/Party seeking to be Joined.
“The Applicant/Party seeking to be joined several suits which are pending before the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division in Suit Mas FHC/ABJ/CS/1156/2020-ADANI MEGA SYSTEMS LIMITED VS ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION & 3 ORS, Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1388/2020 ADANI MEGA SYSTEMS LIMITED VS. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION & 3 ORS (transferred from Hon. Justice A.R. Mohammed to Hon. Justice B.F.M. Nyako) and the earlier pending suit being Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/850/2017 ADANI MEGA SYSTEMS LIMITED VS HON MINISTER OF FINANCE & ORS before Hon. Justice 8.F.M Nyako which relate to the same subject matter of automation of the activities of the Nigerian Customs Service also have the current Claimants and the Defendants/Respondents as parties.”
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