Court stops concession of Lagos international airport

A federal high court in Lagos has ordered the federal government to stay further action on its planned concession of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and cargo terminals.

Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa, presiding judge, made the order on Monday in a suit filed by Sifax Group of Companies Limited, challenging the bidding process.

In October, the federal government announced the preferred and reserved bidders for the concession of major airports in the country.

While TAV/NAHCO Project Planet Limited was the preferred bidder for the Lagos airport, Sifax/Changi Consortium was selected as the reserve bidder.

However, Sifax in the suit alleged that TAV breached procedures by bidding twice.

The suit listed Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation; the federal government; Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation; NAHCO Aviance Plc; Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission; TAV Airports Holding Company and GMR Airport Limited as 1st to 7th defendants.

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In its statement of claims, the plaintiff (Sifax) claimed it was one of the 13 firms that bided for the contract after the 3rd defendant issued a formal Request for Qualification (RFQ).

The firm averred that out of the 13 firms, the 3rd defendant (aviation minister) later invited shortlisted bidders, including the plaintiff, which bided with Changi Airports (as a consortium) to submit proposals for the contract.

It said contrary to the misleading impression that both the 6th and 7th defendants (TAV and GMR) were separate entities, a search on the internet revealed a different position.

The firm, Airport De Paris, owns 49 percent and 46 percent shares in the 6th and 7th defendants respectively.

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The plaintiff further said that having contravened the request for qualification without any legal basis, the 6th and 7th respondents should be disqualified from participating in the tender or joining any group in the future, adding that their action was a demonstration of dishonesty and a deliberate attempt to deceive the contracting.

The matter has been adjourned to March 29, 2023.

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