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Centre sues AGF, NPA, others over alleged fraud in dredging contract

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Nigerian Ports Authority

The Incorporated Trustees of Cadrel Advocacy Centre has instituted a suit before Federal High Court in Lagos against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

The centre is seeking the withdrawal of a contract to Dredging International Services Ltd for the dredging of Warri channel.The claimant is contending that the firm, which is a sister company to Dredging International Services in Cyprus, was convicted of fraud and financial impropriety.

In a writ of summons issued through its counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), it submitted that the two companies, which shared the same directors, are owned by the DEME Group, Belgium.By implication, the claimant argued, they are not legally qualified to execute contracts in Nigeria.

It wants the court to declare that by virtue of Item 8 of the Expression of Interest Document of the bid released by NPA, the award of the contract constitutes a clear breach and conflict of interest and public trust reposed in the NPA.

This, the counsel stated, was wrong, as the information was not disclosed to other participants in the bidding process.In addition, the claimant wants the court to declare that by virtue of Sections 57(9) a, 57(9) b and 57(12) b of the Public Procurement Act, the award of the contract constitutes a blatant breach, conflict of interest and public trust reposed in the NPA.

It also faulted the certificate of no objection issued by the Bureau of Public Procurement (fourth defendant) to the NPA to enable her award the contract on remedial works of Escravos Channel-Replacement of Aids to Navigation and Minor Dredging at Delta Ports Warri to the third defendant.

The contracts were awarded at the sum of $44,861,596.66, which the centre argues was in flagrant violation of the provisions of Sections 16(8)(e) and (f) of the Public Procurement Act 2007, and Item 8 of the Expression of Interest Document of the bid released by the NPA and Sections 57(9) a, 9(b) and 57(12) b of the Public Procurement Act.

It also prays for an order of court compelling the AGF to prosecute Mr. Bert Willie, a director of the Dredging Company for perjury, having lied on oath that neither he nor the company had relationship with Dredging International Cyprus.The centre, however, prayed the court to make an order nullifying the certificate of no objection issued by the BPE to the NPA to enable her award the contract to the third defendant.The matter is yet to be assigned, and no date has been fixed for hearing.


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Mike OzekhomeNPA
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