12 January 2015, Abuja – A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, has been informed that Samsung Heavy Industries and Total Upstream Nigeria are still executing the multi-million dollar contract for the controversial floating storage and offloading unit (FPSO) in Egina Field within the OML 130, despite an order of the court that parties in the suit should maintain status quo.
Counsel to the plaintiff in the suit, Mr. Olukayode Enitan, at the resumed hearing in the matter, informed the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, that Samsung and Total Upstream Nigeria, defendants in the suit, have contnued to execute the project notwithstanding the subsisting order of the court.
But the judge, said if he (Enitan), was sure that the defendants were in breach of the order of his court, then he should know what to do.
Meanwhile, Samsung has filed a preliminary objection to challenge the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter. But the trial judge has fixed February 26, for hearing on all pending applications in the matter.
The defendants in th suit include the Attorney General of the Federation; National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS); Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) ; Samsung Heavy and Total Upstream.
The court had 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 November 19, 2014.
Justice Abang also ordered the plaintiff to serve the court papers- the writ of summons, statement of claim, list of witnesses, list of exhibits, witness statement on oath, motion on notice and all other processes in the suit on the AGF and the NCDMB.
The court noted that it was better to hear the defendants before taking any decision on the issues raised by the plaintiff in the ex-parte application.
Besides, the court took cognizance of the fact that since the matter was before it, hence parties should not do anything “that may frustrate the hearing and final determination of the suit.”
The plaintiff, Mr. John Owubokiri, in the substantive suit, is asking the court to declare that the award of the contract to Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria Limited 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.
He also wants the court to declare that the award of the contract to Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of Egina FPSO contrary to extant laws, regulations, directives, guidelines and laid down procedure is irregular, null and void and ought to be set aside.
He therefore sought among others, an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from executing, carrying out or taking any further steps pursuant to the award of the contract for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the Egina FPSO.
The plaintiff also prayed the court for a mandatory order compelling NAPIMS and NCDMB, to reopen the process of the award for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the Egina FPSO in accordance with the extant laws, regulations, directives, guidelines and laid down procedures as contained inter alia in the public procurement Act, NNPC Act, and the guidelines of NPIMS.
Owubokiri also prayed for an order of interim of injunction restraining the defendants either by themselves or any of their agents or privies “from continuing or taking any further action or step towards the execution of the award of the contract for engineering procurement, construction and commissioning of floating production, storage and offloading unit FPSO in the Egina field within OML 130 (Egina FPSO contract) pending the determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction in the suit.
He also prayed the for an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants from giving effect to or implementing the award of the aforesaid Egina FPSO contract either by way of operating/executing same in any way with Egina FPSO contract pending the determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction in the suit.
– This Day