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FG reawards e-customs project despite pending suit

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved implementation of the Nigeria Customs Service modernisation project by a concessionaire, Begman Security Consultants and Suppliers Limited, despite…

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved implementation of the Nigeria Customs Service modernisation project by a concessionaire, Begman Security Consultants and Suppliers Limited, despite a pending court case.

The FEC Wednesday announced African Finance Corporation (AFC) as lead financier; and Huwaei Technologies Limited, lead technical service provider.

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, said, “The concessionaire has furnished us with a $9 million security for satisfactory performance of the project. They have also executed the debt facility terms sheet in the sum of $300 million to finance the first phase of the project.

“The revenue sharing arrangements are 45 per cent of all accruals to the comprehensive import service scheme going to the concessionaire and 55 per cent going to the federal government, 25 per cent of all accruals to the Nigeria Exports Supervision Scheme, and 75 per cent to the federal government as indicated in the agreements.”

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When asked if he was aware of any court order on the project, Agba said he was not aware of any.

Lawyers in the matter had written separately to caution against re-awarding the $3.1bn Customs Modernisation Project, otherwise known as e-customs, to digitise customs processes in Nigeria, after it was initially awarded to original investors, E-Customs HC Project Ltd, the consortium, and

Bionica Technologies (West Africa) Limited led by Alhaji Umaru Tanko Kuta.

Ahmed Raji (SAN), in a letter dated April 18, 2023, to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, asked him to intervene in the matter to step down the memo to FEC in respect of the pending court matter.

“We consider the actions of the Federal Ministry of Finance not only to be a brazen show of disregard for the rule of law, but also contemptuous, given that it is a party to the pending action in court; which the court, at the last hearing date, admonished all parties not to take any steps capable of interfering with the res (subject) of the matter before it,” he said.

 

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