Alleged: CCG Frustrating $3.1bn Customs Modernisation Project, Investors Tell Court.
A Federal High Court in Abuja has been told that the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, (NCS), Col Ahmeed Ali is frustrating the $3.1Bn Customs Modernisation Project by seeking to reverse the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval granted for the project.
The accusation of frustration of the new Cargo Tracking Policy billed to generate huge revenue for the Federal Government was brought against the incumbent Customs Comptroller General before Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo.
A group of investors approved by the Federal Executive Council, FEC to undertake the Customs Modernization Project claimed that the Customs Chief on his own, amended the modernization policy without a recourse to the Federal Executive Council that granted the initial approval.
Among others, Ali was said to have unilaterally brought into the modernization project, two new companies that were not among those approved by the President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Executive Council at its September 2020 meeting.
In a counter affidavit to a motion seeking to terminate a law suit on the disputed $3.1 Bn Cargo tracking policy, the investors led by one Alhaji Umaru Tanko Kuta named Trade Modernization Project Limited and Bergman Security Consultant and Supplies Limited as two firms allegedly unlawfully brought into the project.
The counter affidavit deposed to by Alhaji Kuta, Managing Director of Bionica Technologies West Africa Limited, averred that Ali allegedly engaged the two companies into the Customs Modernization Project so as to corner the Cargo Tracking Policy to his family and business associates.
Among others, the investors claimed that while the Federal Executive Council gave approval to E-Customs HC Project Limited as
the Concessionaire for the Cargo Tracking Policy as far back as September 2, 2020, the Trade Modernization Project Limited unlawfully brought by Ali was registered on April 7, 2022 with one Mrs Jummai Zainab Umar-Ajijola as the promoter
They further claimed that the Chairman of the second Company, Bergmans Security Consultant and Supplies Limited, Alhaji Umar Saleh also allegedly unlawfully brought into the Cargo Tracking project is a close ally of the Customs Comptroller General and a principal shareholder in the company.
Ali is also said to be brother to Mrs Jummai Zainab Umar-Ajijola alleged to be promoter of the Trade Modernization Project Limited.
The affidavit further contained that following the decision of the Federal Government on May 30, 2022 to award the Concessionaire for the Cargo Tracking to Trade Modernization Project Limited as against the earlier
E-Customs HC Project Limited, a law suit was instituted to challenge the unlawful move.
Messrs E-Customs HC Project Limited and Bionica Technologies West Africa Limited being the two that conceived the Customs Modernization Project and also secured FEC approval of September 2020 were said to have jointly instituted the court action against the Federal Government and others.
The investors insisted that Trade Modernization Project Limited and Bergmans Security Consultant and Supplies Limited were unilaterally co-opted into the e-customs project as co- sponsors despite not making any input or commitment whatsoever towards the FEC approval obtained by Bionica Technologies West Africa for the e-customs project.
They therefore faulted the application by Ali’s alleged agents to unlawfully wind up the E-Customs HC Project and pull it out of the court action against the Federal Government.
The investors asserted that the move by the Customs Comptroller General through Mrs Jummai Zainab Umar-Ajijola was a.ploy to stifle justice in the matter.
They further claimed that the purported winding up of the E-customs HC Project Limited is a ploy to strip the Bionica Technologies West Africa Limited of its interest in the partner Company.
The counter affidavit therefore urged Justice Ekwo to refuse the request to remove E-Customs HC Project Limited as joint plaintiff in the suit adding that the request is misplaced and brought in utmost bad faith.
E-CustomsHC Project Limited, listed as the first plaintiff in the suit had made a dramatic U-turn and announced its decision to pull out of the court action against the government.
In a withdrawal motion, brought by its counsel, Ugochukwu Nnoli, the company alleged that its consent and authorisation were neither sought nor obtained by the second plaintiff, Bionica Technologies (West Africa) Limited before dragging the Federal Government to court.
E-Customs HC Project Limited claimed that it had a joint venture company and a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) promoted by Bionica Technologies (West Africa) Limited, the 2nd plaintiff in 2019 with equal shareholders standing.
E-Customs HC Project Limited, however, said the purpose of forming a joint venture to bid for a contract for service to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had since failed and consequently it had applied to the Corporate Affairs Commission CAC for a voluntary winding up.
The company asserted that using its name as the first plaintiff to obtain or seek further injunctive reliefs against the Federal Government was tantamount to obtaining by false or fraudulent misrepresentation.
Specifically, E-Customs said it had no grouse any longer against the Federal Government.
The company further said that the crux of its application was not just about which of the two lawyers to represent it but on the much more fundamental question of false and wrongful commencement of the suit in its name as an unwilling litigant.
It further said the name E-Customs was generic and that it had not registered the same as a trade mark or trade name and does not object to the use of the name by any person.
The Company further stated that it was anxious to escape any criminal liabilities that may result from disclosure of privileged communication protected by the Official Secrets Act.
Meanwhile, Justice Ekwo has fixed the matter for February 20, 2023.
FG Approves N24.2bn For Free Internet At Airports, Schools, Markets
THE Federal Government has approved free internet services worth N24.2 billion naira at 20 selected airports, 43 universities and six markets across the country.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami, disclosed this after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday
Pantami said that the airports were selected from the six geo-political zones.
“Certain intervention projects are going to be implemented by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Nigerian Communications Commission of providing Internet in 20 selected airports in Nigeria and higher institutions of learning and also some markets to support micro small and medium enterprises.
“In each geopolitical zone, you have around three airports. In the South-West, we have Lagos and Ondo. For the South-East, we have Anambra and Enugu.
“For the South-South, we have Port Harcourt and Akwa Ibom. For the North-Central we have Abuja and Ilorin. In the North-West, we have Kano, Sokoto and Kebbi. For the North-East we have Yola, Maiduguri and Gombe.”
The minister said the markets and 43 institutions which include universities and polytechnics were also drawn from the six geopolitical zones, adding that it will ease e-learning in schools and also enhance the transition to a cashless economy.
Buhari Approves Appointment Of 6 New Perm Secs
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday approved the appointment of six new permanent secretaries in the Federal Civil Service
The appointments followed after a recent conducted selection process.
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF),Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, made this known in a statement by Mohammed Ahmed, Director of Communications of the Office of the HOCSF,
The appointees and their states of origin are Esuabana Asanye (Cross River), Mahmud Kambari (Borno), Richard Pheelangwah (Taraba), Lamuwa Ibrahim (Gombe), Yakubu Kofar-Mata (Kano) and Oloruntola Michael (Ogun).
DSS Confirms Plot To Install Interim Govt
The Department of State Security Service has said that the plot to Instal interim government was real
DSS noted that the plot was “by some key players” to install an interim government and stop Bola Ahmed Tinubu from being inaugurated as president.
A statement on Wednesday, by Peter Afunanya, the public relations officer of the secret police, said: “The Department of State Services (DSS) has identified some key players in the plot for an Interim Government in Nigeria.
“The Service considers the plot, being pursued by these entrenched interests, as not only an aberration but a mischievous way to set aside the constitution and undermine civil rule as well as plunge the country into an avoidable crisis.
“The illegality is totally unacceptable in a democracy and to the peace loving Nigerians. This is even more so that the machination is taking place after the peaceful conduct of the elections in most parts of the country.”
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