—Seeks court order to disqualify two bidders
A Non for Profit Organisation, Centre for Transparency and Defence of Human Rights, has dragged the Federal Government before a Federal High Court in Lagos over alleged irregularities in the bid process for the concession of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, MMIA.
In a writ of summon filed before the court by its lawyer, Mr. Samuel Agweh, SAN, the NGO is asking the court to compel the Federal Government through the Ministry of Aviation to disqualify two of the companies participating in the Lagos Airport concession bid process, TAV Airport Holding Company and GMR Airport Limited for dishonesty and misrepresentation.
Listed as co-defendants along with the Federal Government in the suit are the Attorney-General of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Aviation, NAHCO Aviance Plc, Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, TAV Airport Holding Company and GMR Airport Ltd.
The plaintiff averred that Tav Airport Holding Company and GMR Airport Ltd which submitted separate bids for MMIA and were shortlisted for the next phase of the concession are owned by same company, Airport De Paris, ADP.
According to the plaintiff, the status of the two companies is contrary to the Request For Qualification, RFQ, guidelines set out by the Ministry of Aviation which stipulates that companies owned by same entity cannot submit separate bids for the concession.
The NGO further averred that the actions of the two companies are a demonstration of dishonesty, lack of integrity and deliberate attempt to deceive and hoodwink the contracting authority and hand over the nation’s gateway airport to “persons of questionable character who lack integrity and repute”.
The reliefs sought by the NGO include, “A declaration that the submission of separate bids by TAV Airport Holding (6th defendant) and GMR Airport Ltd (7th defendant) with the impression that they are separate entities amount to a material misrepresentation, and a breach of Section 2.2 subsection 2.2.1 of the Request For Qualification (RFQ) for the Concession of Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
“A declaration that the submission of separate bids by the 6th and 7th Defendants is not only wrongful but amount to act of dishonesty, deceit and lawlessness.
‘An order directing the 3rd Defendant ( Ministry of Aviation) to immediately disqualify the 6th Defendant led consortium and the 7th Defendant’s submission as well as ADP as a standalone party from participation in the tender or joining any group in future after Pre-Qualifications results are announced.
The Executive Director of the NGO, Kunle Edun in a sworn witness statement attached to the suit claimed that a search on the internet revealed that ADP owns 46% of GMR and 49% TAV.
He maintained that by bidding separately for the same contract, the two defendants went against the Standard Ethics required by Applicants for the bidding as provided in section 3 subsection 3.1 of the Request For Proposal, RFP, guidelines.
Edun pointed that the attention of the Attorney-General of the Federation was drawn to the misrepresentation by the two companies via a letter dates June 15, 2022 but that the AGF refused to disqualify the 6th Defendant led Consortium for breaching the eligibility criteria, verification and disqualification guideline, as well as for act of dishonesty and deceit, but rather decided to disqualify only the 7th Defendant from the bid and retain the 6th Defendant led consortium.
He insisted that the action of the AGF was wrong and amount to condoning lawlessness, corruption, illegality, dishonesty, impunity, and deceit, and is unacceptable.