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Why we stopped N37bn health centres - FG

Posted by From GODWIN TSA Abuja on 2008/07/22 | Views: 2167 |

Why we stopped N37bn health centres - FG


The Federal Government on Monday gave reasons for the revocation of the N37 billion health centres project awarded by the past administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying it did not follow due process.

The Federal Government on Monday gave reasons for the revocation of the N37 billion health centres project awarded by the past administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying it did not follow due process.

Adducing reasons for the revocation, the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa (SAN) who appeared personally before a Federal High Court in the case filed by the project contractor, Mathan Nigeria Limited against the revocation, said the contract was erroneously awarded by the Obasanjo administration.

According to the chief law officer of the Federation,"the past administration awarded the contract in error and due process was not follow in the award.

"Primary health care is not in the exclusive or concurrent list and it is not the duty of the Federal Government to award contract bordering on the construction of health centres.
"It is the residual power of the States and the Local Governments and the Federal Government cannot force them on how to use their money.
"This government is rooted on the rule of law and if we see any action in the contrary we shall not hesitate to stop it."

Besides, Aondoakaa noted that the conditions attached to the payment for the contract, which entailed deduction of funds from the Federation Account was unconstitutional.
The comprehensive health centres, which were to be built in each of the 774 Local Government Area was to be contractor financed, while Mathan was to be paid through direct deduction from the monthly allocation due to the local councils.

The minister maintained that there was no law that supported deduction of funds due to any level of government directly from the Federation Account.
He urged Justice Mustapha Umar to entertain a fresh preliminary objection he filed, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case.
In the objection, Aondoakaa contended that the suit as filed by the contractor lacked merit and that the court was not competent to entertain it.

In his submission, counsel representing the plaintiff, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) said the fresh objection raised by the AGF was an abuse of the process of court on the grounds that a similar application was made by a counsel from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and was overruled by the court.

It was his contention that "This court is caught by "issue estoppel" on the fresh objection by the AGF because this same court has given its ruling on the same issues.
"When an issue at any stage of a case has been distinctly raised and determined by the court, neither party is allowed to re-open, re-argue or re-litigate on such decision. This new objection is an invitation to the court to either review its ruling or sit as an appellate court over its previous decision."
Awomolo argued that the law did not permit any court to sit as an appellate court over its own decision or a decision by a court of coordinate jurisdiction.

He urged the court to strike out the fresh objection by the AGF and go ahead with the substantive case.
The case has been adjourned to July 24, 2008 at the instance of the Justice minister who is expected to respond to the objections raised by the plaintiff's counsel.

The plaintiff had filed the action seeking among other reliefs, an order setting aside the December 10, 2007 decision of National Economic Council, revoking the contract.
The contractor contended that the revocation of the contract was illegal and unconstitutional.
Mathan asked the court to declare that FEC in its decision revoking the contract acted in excess of the power given to it by the 1999 Constitution.

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