An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has adjourned hearing into a suit filed by the Cable Foundation against the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, following the latter’s failure to comply with the provisions of the Freedom of Information, FOI Act.
The Cable Newspaper Journalism Foundation, a sister organisation of the Cable Newspaper Limited, filed the suit to compel Mr. Malami’s to explain the reasons behind the award of a contract to some lawyers for the execution of a project related to the Abacha loot.
The foundation’s decision to institute the suit followed the failure of the justice ministry to respond to an FOI request from the Cable.
The FOI request was meant to reveal the roles of lawyers in the recovery of the stolen fund after a fresh report showed that a contract awarded in 2016 by Mr. Malami, was meant to duplicate an already completed contract, first awarded in 2000.
The controversial contract is linked to the $321 million Abacha loot.
According to reports by the Cable, the controversial contract was first awarded to a Swiss lawyer, Erico Mofrini. Mr. Mofrini was also paid $7.5 million in 2000 and the contract was fully executed.
However after his appointment, Mr. Malami engaged the services of two lawyers, Oladipo Okpeseyi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and Temitope Isaac, both former lawyers of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, to apparently ‘duplicate’ Mr. Mofrini’s already completed contract.
The trial judge, Gabriel Kolawole adjourned the matter till February 28, after entertaining an application from the plaintiff on Tuesday.
The application which was brought by plaintiff’s lawyer, Ayodele Kusamotu, sought the leave of court for a judicial review of the project, first completed in 2000.
Mr. Kolawole acknowledged the application and ordered the foundation to serve the respondent with the details of their request within five days.