Amaechi, DG BPP Dragged To Court Over Rail Project Contract

November 16, 2020
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By KUNLE OLASANMI, Abuja  |

The minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and the director general of the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, has been dragged before a Federal High Court in Abuja, over alleged flagrant violation of the Public Procurement Act in the award of Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Port Harcourt- Maiduguri, Eastern Narrow Gauge Railway line.

According to the suit, the minister and BPP DG are flagrantly in contravention of the provisions of Sections 16 and 40 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 which is punishable by imprisonment.

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The two public officers, if found to have violated the Public Procurement Act risk jail term.

According to documents made available to LEADERSHIP, the minister of Transportation have surprisingly shunned all effort from American Export – Import Bank due to the fact that Eximbank wanted government to government transparency negotiation.

But the minister sought to take a loan for the project from Chinese Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (a privately owned financial institution) to be backstopped by a Federal Government of Nigeria sovereignty guarantee at interest rate of more than 3 per cent against US Eximbank cheaper interest rate of 1.8 per cent.

The minister has been saying there’s no alternative to Chinese loan but the US EXIM bank had indicated interest in the project since 2018.

In the suit, dated 28th October, 2020, the plaintiff, Insight Dynamic Resources Limited, is praying the court for an order of the court to compel the federal government, the 3rd defendant in the matter, to initiate the Judicial process against minister and BPP DG for contravening the provisions of the public procurement Act as stipulated by the provision of Section 58 (5) (a) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.

In the suit filed on behalf of the firm by Babah Hussaini Bagudu, counsel to the plaintiff, the plaintiff prayed the court to set aside the contractual agreement between the federal government and the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company, CCECC, for the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, Eastern Narrow Gauge Railway.

He prayed the court to determine the following questions; Whether the Honourable Minister of Transportation request for Letter Of No Objection from Director General of the Bureau of Public Procurement in favour of CCECC NIGERIA LIMITED for the Contract of Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Port Harcourt- Maiduguri, Eastern

Narrow Gauge Railway with New branch line and Transhipment facilities Solely on the bidding of the Instant Company devoid of consideration of others interested, willing and capable Companies who had showed interest for the said contract (vis-a-viz denning all other Companies fair ground to compete for the said contract) not contravene the spirit and provision of Section 16 and 40 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.

Whether the Due process Certificate of No Objection issued by the Director General of the Bureau of Public Procurement to CCECC NIGERIA LIMITED in respect of the Contract of the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, Eastern Narrow- Gauge Railway with New Branch Lines and transhipment facilities, having the full Knowledge that the said request of the said letter from the Honourable Minister of Transportation without adhering or observing the Due process of law as enshrined in Public Procurement Act, Particularly Section 16 and 40 of the Instant law, is valid in line with the spirit and intent of the above provisions.

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