17 March 2015, Lagos – A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, has adjourned till March 27, 2015, to hear the contempt proceedings initiated against Samsung Heavy Industry Nigeria Limited and Total Upstream Nigeria Ltd, over their alleged disobedience of an order of court, ordering parties to maintain status-quo in the controversial storage and offloading unit FPSO in Egina Field within OML 130 contract.
Defendants in the suit are Attorney General of the Federation; National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS; Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, CDMB; Samsung Heavy Industry and Total Upstream.
Mr. John Owubokiri, a lawyer in the substantive suit, is asking the court to declare that the award of the contract to Samsung Heavy Industry Nigeria for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the Egina FPSO is unlawful, tainted by irregularities in that NPIMS, CDMB and Total Upstream Nigeria ignored all extant laws, regulations, directives, and guidelines guiding such awards.
Justice Okon Abang, had last year, ordered the defendants to “maintain status quo ante bellum as per the plaintiff’s claims before the court pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated 19/11/2014.”
But the plaintiff had complained that work was still on-going on the contact, despite the clear court orders.
The trial judge, also yesterday, said it will hear the preliminary objection by defendants, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter, after trial.
In his ruling on which of the pending applications to take, Justice Abang upheld the plaintiff’s counsel argument that the preliminary objection, having been filed out of time, would be heard at the end of trial.
The plaintiff had argued that the objection was filed out of time, while the defendants argued that due to the judicial workers’ strike, they were not able to file same on time, but in reply, plaintiff argued that even if the application was affected by the strike, they ought to have sought leave of court to file same out of time, which they did not.