Construction companies sue Amaechi, Malami, over alleged unlawful award of contract to Chinese firm

Some construction companies in Nigeria have instituted a suit against the Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi and the Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami over the alleged unlawful award of 190km rail line construction to a Chinese firm without due process.

The suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1426/2021, was filed at the Abuja Division of the federal high court. Justice Ahmed Mohammed will on February 17, hear the matter.

While Mr Rotimi, Mr Malami, the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Chinese firm, China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) are the defendants in the suit, Duluidas Nigeria Limited, Duliz Dredging and Construction Limited and Consortium of Duluidas Nigeria Limited, Duliz Dredging and Construction Limited/Hebbelyixin Fastener Company Limited are the plaintiffs in the suit.

What the companies are saying about the alleged flawed contract process

The plaintiffs instituted the suit praying the court to declare that the minister and his agents were biased in their assessment of the bidding in favour of the CCECC.

In a writ of summons by their lead counsel, James Okoh, the plaintiffs are seeking the court to cancel the letter of “No Objection” issued by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in favour of CCECC.

They averred that the letter was issued for the award of the N91.5 billion rail line contract in breach of procurement laws. They are praying the court to re-issue another letter in their favour.

The plaintiffs claim that the NRC invited them through a private tender on February 23, 2021, to submit a financial bid for the job and they emerged successful along with other companies.

According to the writs of summons, the disputed contract in the sum of N91.5 billion with a completion period of 36 months was for the reconstruction of narrow gauge track from Minna in Niger State to Baro with extension to the Baro River.

Some of the reliefs sought

An order of injunction against the minister, his ministry and the CCECC from continuing with the award of the contract and execution of the same on the basis of the flawed process.
In the alternative, they sought an order setting aside any purported award on the basis of the flawed and compromised bidding process by the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) with concurrence of other defendants.
The companies are asking the court to set aside any purported approval received from the FEC awarding the disputed contract to any other company during the pendency of the suit.

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