14 January 2015, Sweetcrude, Lagos – A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and four others to maintain status quo in the award of contract for the controversial storage and offloading unit FPSO in Egina Field within OML 130, pending the determination of the suit by a lawyer, by Mr. John Owubokiri.
Egina $3.5bn FPSO: Court orders parties to maintain status quo
Other defendants in the suit are the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NPIMS; Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board, CDMB; Samsung Heavy Industry Nigeria Limited and Total Upstream Nigeria Ltd.
Trial judge in the matter, Justice Okon Abang 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.”
Justice Abang also ordered the plaintiff to serve on the AGF and Content Development Monitoring Board 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 out of jurisdiction of the court.
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 take 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, Owubokiri had 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.
Owubokiri is praying 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.
Further hearing was fixed for January 8, 2015, but on the said date, the court did not sit due to the strike action by.
In a writ of summons filed before the federal high court in the Lagos judicial division, the plaintiff claims against the defendants’ are:
“A declaration that the award to the 4th defendant of the contract for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the Egina FPSO is unlawful, tainted by irregfularities in that the 2nd, 3rd and 5th defendants ignored all extant laws, regulations, directives, and guidelines guiding such awards.
“A declaration that the award to the 4th defendant of the contract for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the Egina FPSO contrary to extant laws, regulations, directives, guidelines and laid down procedure is irregular, null and void and ought to be set aside.
“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.
“A mandatory order compelling the 2nd and 3rd defendant 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 the 2nd defendant.
It would be recalled that the Egina FPSO contract valued at $3.3 billion was awarded by the ministry of Petroleum to Samsung rather than Hyundai the preferred bidder shortlisted by NAPIMS, Total and the NCDMB.
The project is now over two years behind schedule because Samsung is in the process of setting up a base in Nigeria.
They didn’t have one before now.