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Mambila Power Project: Sunrise Floors FG, as ICC Orders Arbitration to Proceed

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The International Court of Arbitration administered by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Paris, France has affirmed the legal and beneficial ownership of Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited (SPTCL) in the $5.8 billion Mambilla hydro-electric power project.

Sunrise and its Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Leno Adesanya had been involved in a running legal battle with the Federal Government of Nigeria over the unlawful termination of the contract which was signed on May 22, 2003, but re-awarded to a Chinese firm, Messrs China Gezhouba Group Corporation/China Geo-Engineering Corporation (CGGC/CGC).

Specifically, Sunrise launched a series of judicial counters to the termination of the contract on May 28, 2007, culminating in a 14-year delay, with the new awardee effectively barred from commencing the execution of the contract.

According to the background of the matter, after Sunrise’s withdrawal from its $500 million Settlement Agreement arbitration at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris in September 2021, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) legal team led by Mr. Supo Shasore SAN, and the foreign firm of White and Case decided to invite Sunrise back to the ICC by claiming $1.6 million in legal fees because Sunrise withdrew the $500 million suit.

Contrary to all the allegations made by the FGN lawyers, the ICC in Paris France on the 13th of October 2022 ruled against all objections of the FGN, and called for the expedited arbitration procedure to be adopted in the $500 million settlement agreements arbitration to commence immediately.

After an international tender process in early 2003, the FGN awarded a $6 billion Build, Operate and Transfer) BOT contract to Sunrise Power and Transmission Co. Limited and it’s Chinese consortium partners on May 22nd, 2003.

Sunrise consortium had secured $5.5 billion in Chinese Eximbank loans in 2005, while the FGN, on the 28th of May 2007, signed a $1.46b civil works contract with the Chinese firm, Messrs China Gezhouba Group Corporation/China Geo-Engineering Corporation (CGGC/CGC), in clear violation of Sunrise’s BOT contract.

In November 2007, Sunrise filed a petition to then President Umaru Musa YarAdua, and the $1.46b EPC contract was terminated in 2009.

On the 23rd of November 2012, FGN signed a General Project Execution Agreement (GOEA) with Sunrise and its Chinese consortium partners for the execution of the Mambilla hydropower project. However, on the 12th of November 2017, the FGN signed a $5.8 billion EPC contract with another Chinese Consortium despite numerous written warnings from the current attorney general of the federation to the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in 2016 and 2017 to respect the GPEA contract with Sunrise.

Sunrise resorted to arbitration against FGN and Sinohydro consortium of China in 2018, claiming $2.3 billion in damages.

With the intervention of the Chinese President, who sent a special envoy to President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2019, FGN and Sunrise signed a settlement agreement in January 2020; and this settlement was advised to both the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria , and Chairman of China Eximbank, who had made the settlement condition precedent to any loans for the Project. However, the FGN defaulted.

Sunrise in September 2021 withdrew the $500m settlement arbitration on condition that FGN makes a financial commitment towards the Project, and respects its right as the exclusive local content partner, but the FGN failed again to make any payments to the EPC contractors and/or the Counterpart funds to China Eximbank.

While the FGN has been unable to defend its failure to honor its agreements to Sunrise, however, the government requested that the ICC should direct “that Sunrise produce certain information showing its true legal and beneficial ownership.”

The request, according to the government, was based on the allegation that there exist Pandora papers suggesting that Mr. Leno Adesanya secretly transferred an interest in Sunrise to the family of Nigeria’s former National Security Adviser, Mr. Sambo Dasuki.

This claim was vehemently objected to by the Claimant (Sunrise).

In a decision dated October 13, 2022, the ICC said there were no “sufficient sensitive elements” adduced by the Federal Government of Nigeria to prevent the matter from proceeding.

According to the decision, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent, the ICC said: “We have duly noted all elements mentioned in the claimant’s and respondent’s request pertaining to fraud and corruption allegations.

“In this respect, the secretariat is monitoring this matter closely together with ICC’s Legal Services Department which has conducted internal compliance verifications but has not found sufficient sensitive elements to prevent this arbitration from being administered by the ICC.”

The ICC said the decision does not constitute a legal opinion and that it may further be subjected to change in case of new elements.

“The ICC endeavors to comply with relevant and applicable compliance rules and regulations at all times and will monitor this matter with the utmost vigilance.

“Should any corruption or related claims need to be addressed in relation to the present dispute or its underlying contract, we invite the parties to communicate all relevant documentation and supporting materials directly to the arbitral tribunal, once constituted,” the ICC said.

The 3,050 MW Mambilla Power Project is the largest Power plant in Nigeria and it is the flagship power generation project of the Muhammadu Buhari government.

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You’ve Nothing to Offer Nigerians, Only Insults, Akwa Ibom Gov Slams Tinubu

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Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, on Monday, replied the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, saying that he (Tinubu) always resorts to abusing and insulting people during campaigns because he has nothing to bring to the table for Nigerians.

He also said that despite being insulted by the former Lagos State Governor, he would prefer to allow peace to reign by ignoring him and focusing on helping install good governance to rescue Nigerians from their present woes.

Emmanuel spoke on Monday evening at Government House, Uyo while inaugurating newly appointed Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen and Members of Boards and Commissions, as well as a Transition Committee to ensure the smooth transition of power to the next administration.

Recall that Tinubu had during his rally in Uyo Monday afternoon, reportedly said, “Akwa Ibom, that boy wey bring Atiku here, wey de call himself Governor, tell him enough is enough! He lives in my backyard in Lagos, If no be say we be one, I would have driven him home. You see that mansion he is living, I would just use lizards, pigeons and scorpions to put him inside.“

But reacting few hours later, the Akwa Ibom State Governor said, “for the country to remain in peace, one party must ‘play saint’ and that is why he would refrain from replying Tinubu.

Emmanuel who is the Chairman of the PDP presidential campaigns said, “I also go to other states, and if you watch our campaigns, my principal (Atiku Abubakar) has never spoken about any Governor, he has never spoken openly about Asiwaju before.”

He added that it was unfortunate that Tinubu, who was granted state-owned facilities such as the airport, security, stadium, and a good atmosphere to come in and sell his manifesto, ended up coming to insult the integrity of over 7.9 million Akwa Ibom people.

The Governor wondered if it is possible for any Akwa Ibomite to go to Lagos that Tinubu stays or the actual state that he hails from, to insult Tinubu in like manner and still be allowed to safely return home, “but here our people at the stadium including some state governors just laughed and applauded him.”

“What makes him think he will govern Nigeria? If I reply him now, people will call me and say, haba oga you are not like that. But I will reply him one day. There is nothing like ‘emilokan’ (it is my turn) here, Nigeria is in God’s hands.”

He maintained further that despite being the highest revenue contributor to the federation account, Akwa Ibom State has not gotten a single kilometre of road from the APC-led Federal Government for nearly 8 years adding that the poor response from the Federal Government also caused the delayed commencement of the seaport in the state.

Meanwhile, the governor thanked the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries for accepting the onerous task of service, and urged them to see themselves as ambassadors and work towards raising the bar of leadership which would encourage productivity and promote good working relationship with subordinates in the service.

“This is one thing I promised Akwa Ibom people that appointment of Permanent Secretaries shall be totally on merit and not by mercy, let those that can do the work be given the opportunity. Permanent Secretary is not a promotion, it is an appointment on merit.

Governor Emmanuel also reiterated his commitments towards enhancing efficiency within Civil Service, noting that during his administration civil servants have been promoted on yearly basis.

He assured that before he exits office more Permanent Secretaries would be appointed into the service to fill vacant positions left by the ones who retired.

Addressing Chairmen of Boards and Commissions, Governor Emmanuel who described them as pillars in government, acknowledged their commitment particularly, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection & Waste Management Agency, Prince Akpan Ikim, for winning laurels for the state through his outstanding performance in keeping and making the state the cleanest in Nigeria for five consecutive years from 2018 through 2022, and tasked others to create an impact that will stand them out.

In the same vein, the Transition Committee members were handed the task of ensuring a seamless transition of government to an incoming administration, and also verify all projects executed by the present administration.

The newly appointed Permanent Secretaries are; Mfon Inuaesiet Edemekong Esq., Dr. Stephen Effiong, Atim Chelly Okoko, Iquo Okon Abia Esq., Uwem Sunday Andrew-Essien, Isaiah Robson Ntekim and Emaeyak Nyong Akpan as Auditor-General for Local Government.

The Transition Committee has Mrs. Ekereobong Umoh -Chairman, Uko Udom SAN, Prof Augustine Umoh, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, Mrs. Nsemeke Daniel, Dr. Nathaniel Adiakpan, Mr Elijah Udoiyak, Mrs. Esther Inyang, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien, Mr. Isaiah Ntekim, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong and Mrs. Bella Akpanya as members.

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PDP Condemns Attack on Buhari in Kano, Blames Tinubu, Ganduje

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The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council, has blamed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attacks on the convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari, during a visit to the state on Monday.

The spokesperson of the campaign council, Dino Melaye, who shared one of the videos from the reported attack, wrote, “The fight between Tinubu and Buhari is entering a new dimension. The attack in Kano was properly coordinated and funded allegedly by Asiwaju.

“The meeting to push Buhari to submission or face sponsored attack in the north was said to be hatched in Bourdillon. Me, I am busy with Atiku.”

A political activist, Deji Adeyanju, who shared another video of the reported attack, said, “They are showing Buhari and APC Shege in Kano and many northern states.”

Similarly, the PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Monday also blamed Tinubu and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attack.

According to the party, the attack was designed to undermine the Presidency, cause confusion, trigger violence in the country, disrupt the conduct of the 2023 general elections “and derail our democracy having realised that he cannot win in a peaceful, free and fair electoral process.”

The statement read in part, “The PDP invites Nigerians to note how Governor Abdullahi Ganduje attempted to abridge President Buhari’s movement and even tried to stop him from visiting Kano State.

“More disquieting is the fact that the APC Presidential Campaign sought to humiliate and harm President Buhari while performing his official duties in Kano.

“It should be noted that the APC presidential candidate has been displaying open aversion and making inciting statements against President Buhari since Mr President’s declaration, in line with democratic best practice all over the world that Nigerians should freely vote for any candidate and party of their choice in the 2023 general elections.

“The apparent frustration of Asiwaju Tinubu to resort to encourage or condone violence is fueled by his entitlement mentality, that it is his turn to be President, despite his numerous ineligibility and disability baggage.”

Ologunagba reminded Nigerians about Tinubu’s infamous statement in London where he declared to his supporters that “political power is not going to be served in a restaurant, it is not served a la carte.”

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Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu Battles for Freedom, Appears in Court Tuesday

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A former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, will on Tuesday appear again in court in the United Kingdom where he has been accused of human trafficking.

The lawmaker was in June 2022 arrested at Heathrow Airport in London after Staines Police Station received a report from a young man claiming to have been trafficked into the UK.

The young man, who made the report shortly after arriving in the UK from Nigeria, also alleged that he was made to undergo some medical tests, none of which he consented to.

Ekweremadu was immediately arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court for bringing a child into the UK to harvest his organs.

While the lawmaker had been in custody since June 23, his wife, Beatrice, who was arrested with him, was granted bail by a criminal court in London shortly after their arrest.

Monday (today) makes it 221 days since Ekweremadu was placed in the custody of UK authorities.

The case against the lawmaker which had been slated for May was later scheduled for January 31.

The 60-year-old, who denied the allegations against him, will again appear before High Court Judge, Mr Justice Johnson.

His daughter, Sonia, had on November 7, 2022, appeared in court to defend the accusation of trafficking a homeless man into the UK to harvest his organs for herself.

According to Daily Mail, the 25-year-old, who is battling a kidney-related illness, pleaded not guilty to the charge level against her when she appeared again in court on January 13.

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