Court rejects Amaechi’s request to reassign maritime security contract case

Premium Times


18 Apr 2022

The Federal High Court in Abuja has turned down an application by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to reassign a case involving Nigeria’s maritime security contract to a vacation judge.

The case about International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN) was filed by a civil society organization, the Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER).

The ICTN is an electronic cargo verification system that monitors the shipments of seaborne cargoes and enables a real-time generation of vital data on ships and cargo traffic in and out of Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari approved the national security-sensitive maritime contract to a medical company nominated by Mr Amaechi in a process the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) said was “embarrassing and illegal.”

CASER had on December 13,2021 filed a suit against Mr Amaechi, Attorney-General of the Federation, and the BPP over irregularities in the award of the sensitive contract.

Two firms – Medtech Scientific Limited and Rozi International Nigeria Limited – that got the contract are joined in the suit as defendants.

On December 17, 2021, following an ex parte application by CASER, the court restrained all the defendants from taking any further steps concerning the appointment of operators of ICTN.

The court on March 23 okayed the filing of a contempt suit against the minister after it was alleged by CASER’s lawyer, Abdulhakeem Mustapha, that Mr Amaechi violated the court order.

The judge, after listening to the lawyers, directed the suspension of the main suit to give way to the hearing of the contempt suit which was slated for May 9, a date agreed by all the parties.

However, in an application filed by his lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi, Mr Amaechi, through a letter on March 31, asked the judge to reassign the case to a vacation judge so the hearing can commence on April 8.