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Abacha loot: Court dismisses suit challenging Malami over selection of CSO to monitor spending

Abacha loot: Court dismisses suit challenging Malami over selection of CSO to monitor spending
November 19
18:32 2021

A federal high court in Abuja has dismissed a suit filed against Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), over the hiring of a civil society organistion (CSO) to monitor the spending of the $311 million Abacha loot.

Recovered in May 2020, the funds were repatriated from the United States and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

Malami had said the fund will be dedicated to the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Abuja-Kano road, and the Second Niger Bridge.

A technical bid was then set up by the asset recovery and management unit of the ministry of justice to select civil society organisations that would oversee the implementation of the projects to ensure transparency.

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Months later, the federal government announced the approval of the award of the consultancy monitoring project to CLEEN Foundation.

But PPP Advisories Consortium, a firm which submitted proposal during the technical bid, sued the AGF and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) over the selection process.

According to PPP Advisories Consortium, 17 firms submitted proposals but only four were qualified.

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The firm, in the suit filed in November 2020, had claimed that it was denied the contract despite securing the highest combined technical and financial scores in the bidding exercise.

The firm also alleged that the federal government arbitrarily disqualified it and “recommended the firm that came 4th (CLEEN Foundation) as the preferred bidder to be awarded the contract”.

The firm also claimed that the federal government chose to award the contract to CLEEN Foundation “which got the least combined technical and financial score among the four prequalified consultants”.

But delivering a judgement on the matter on Friday, Inyang Ekwo, the judge, held that the suit lacked merit as there was no credible evidence to support the case.

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“I have said that this court is deciding this case upon its peculiar facts and circumstances,” he said.

“This type of action is such that must succeed on its own strength and not on the weakness or failure of the defence.

“I can safely say at this point that I am unable to ascribe probative value to the documentary evidence in this case.

“My finding therefore is that there is no credible evidence to support this case and it fails and I so hold.

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“I make an order dismissing this case for lack of credible evidence. This is the judgement of this court.”

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