The Incorporated Trustees of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Cadrell Advocacy Centre has approached a Federal High Court in Lagos for an order directing the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to withdraw the letter, awarding contract to a firm, the Dredging International Services Nigeria Limited for dredging of the Warri Channel.
The claimant in the suit alleged that Dredging International Services Nigeria Limited is not qualified to execute contracts in Nigeria, adding that it is partly owned by a convicted company, Cadrell Advocacy Centre.
It asked for the disqualification of Dredging International Services Nigeria Limited from executing the contract for the Dredging of the Warri Channel River awarded to it sometimes in 2018 by Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and or any other contract in Nigeria, on the ground that Dredging International NV with 500,000 shareholding in Dredging International Services Nigeria Limited is a convicted Company.
In their statement of claim, dated November 26, 2018 and filed by the chambers of Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), the claimant stated that in 2012, the office of the Attorney General, Department of International Affairs, Switzerland investigated and subsequently prosecuted Dredging International NV and Dredging International Services Cyprus Limited, a part owner and sister company of Dredging International Services Nigeria Ltd (and both subsidiaries of DEME Group Belgium) on the allegation that officials of Dredging International NV and Dredging International Services Cyprus Limited bribed some officials of the NPA to the tune of $20,000,000.
The claimant further alleged that Dredging International Services Cyprus Limited and Dredging International NV (who are part owners of Dredging International Services Nigeria Limited), were subsequently convicted on the May 2, 2012 and fined one million Swiss Francs, by the said Swiss court.
The claimant is therefore seeking an order of the court, directing the NPA to withdraw the letter awarding the contract for the dredging of the Warri Channel, and all other ancillary documents issued in furtherance of the contract for remedial works at Escravos Channel-Replacement of Aids to Navigation and Minor Dredging at Delta Ports, Warri, at the sum of $44,861,596.81.
According to the claimant, the authority given to Dredging International Services Nigeria Limited was issued in flagrant violation of the provisions of S. 16 (8) (e) & (f) of the Public Procurement Act 2007.
The NGO is also seeking from the same court an order of perpetual injunction, restraining Dredging International Services Nigeria limited, whether by themselves, servants, agents and/or partners and privies, or parent company from further ever dealing or executing any contract in Nigeria or with the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
However, when matter came up before Justice M. Hassan, he ordered counsel representing parties to file necessary documents before the next adjourn date.
The claimant was represented by its executive director, Mr. Evans Ufeli, while 2nd respondents, NPA and Dredging International Services Nigeria Limited were also represented.
The judge therefore adjourned hearing to April 2, 2019.