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Nigeria faces asset forfeiture in US over N49m contract breach

Documents obtained by Daily Trust shows that a Superior Court of New Jersey is about to enter a default against Nigeria in a suit filed…

Documents obtained by Daily Trust shows that a Superior Court of New Jersey is about to enter a default against Nigeria in a suit filed by Civilitis International.     
Civilitis had sued International Training Institute for Peace (ITTP), Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and four others, claiming damages in a five-count charge of alleged breach of contract.
Among the claims are that there is due from the defendants the sum of $11,800 on a certain publication and sale of 4,000 inserts entitled “Peace Support Perspectives,” a leather bound book edition, storage and other sundry fees amounting to  $286,955 as of February, 2013.
The court papers show that judgment in the case which is before Robert D. Kuttner, the trial counsel in the matter, is expected to be declared in favour of the complainant any moment from now when the court resumes.
Daily Trust learned that after receiving the summons, the Nigerian Consul General in New York wrote two letters to the court asking for more time as it “await an update on the matter” from Nigeria.   
The SGF office had earlier written a memo with reference PS/PAO/067/119, dated July 13, 2011; signed by permanent secretary (GSO) for the SGF, Femi Olayisade, requesting funds from the Budget Office of the Federation to pay the sum of $259,889 for the publication of compendium by the defunct International Training Institute for Peace (ITIP).
The same SGF memo also made reference to a letter from the foreign affairs ministry urging the SGF to intervene and save the country any embarrassment arising from litigation and likely seizure of government assets in New York.
After bureaucratic processes, the money was said to have been approved and paid into the SGF account late last year.
But SGF Anyim Pius Anyim, it was learned, has refused to effect the payment to the Civilitis even though the US court would soon deliver its verdict.      
The contract was awarded by ITIP in 1996 but ITTP was later scrapped and its statutory duties transferred to the Centre for Peace Research and Conflict Resolution, National War College.
The US court document dated February 4, 2014 has given the federal government a last chance to respond, warning that “the time in which to file an answer has passed and we have submitted a Request to Enter Default as to all defendants with Certification in Support of same this date.”
Attempt to get SGF office to respond to the story was not successful as Anyim spokesperson Sam Nwaobasi didn’t pick his calls and also didn’t reply to text messages and email sent to him.

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