A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Attorney General of the Federation and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to maintain status quo in the appointment of a consultant for monitoring of the Abacha Loot projects.

Justice Inyang Ekwe on Tuesday directed the AGF and the BPP not to take any steps in the matter pending the hearing and determination of the motion for an injunction.

Earlier, the AGF was absent in court while the counsel to the BPP sought for an adjournment to enable the agency to file their defence in the matter.

But counsel to PPP Advisories Consortium, who brought the application, Dr Daniel Bwala informed the court that unless it makes an order for status quo, the federal government may proceed and award the consultancy contract to Cleen Foundation who scored the lowest combined Technical and Financial score among the four prequalified consultants.

Bwala argued that if the action is allowed it will affect Nigeria’s image in the competitiveness and transparency required in procurement matters as outlined by the Bureau of Public Procurement Act, 2007.

The federal government had in February 2020 entered into a tripartite agreement with the Island of Jersey, and the United States for the return of the $300m funds recovered from former Head of State, General Sani Abacha.

The agreement included the use of the recovered funds to assist in the ongoing infrastructure projects in Nigeria such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano Road and Second Niger Bridge.

As part of the terms, Nigeria pledged to involve civil society in monitoring and oversight of the projects, as well as greater cooperation and mutual respect among the countries in the implementation the goals of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) principles on the repatriation of stolen assets.

Meanwhile, the suit has been adjourned to January 21 for hearing.