A Judge of the Federal High Court in Lagos has summoned the Managing Director of Federal Airport Authority (FAAN), George Uriesi to appear before it next week Wednesday to answer to criminal charges of contempt of court.
Presiding Judge, Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako ordered the summon at the continued hearing of a contempt proceedings instituted by Maevis Nigeria Limited against FAAN, for allegedly disobeying an earlier order of the court made on the 24th of September 2010, for the “maintenance of reason” in the dispute over the airports’ concession contract.
Maevis was engaged by FAAN as a concessionaire for the provision of the Airport Operations Management System (AOMS) platform in the nation’s four international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port-Harcourt.
The Managing Director of FAAN had on Sunday, announced the revocation of the concession made to Maevis.
The FAAN/ Maevis AOMS project comprised the acquisition, installation, operation and management of world class Integrated Airport Operations Database (AODB), Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE), Computer Based Departure Control System Platform, Common Use Self Service (CUSS) Kiosk, Check-in desk and a fully automated Airport Pricing and Billing System (PBS).
At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, counsel to Maevis, Professor Yemi Osinbajo informed the court that with the cancellation of the concession, FAAN “had engaged in serious and egregious actions which undermined the authority of the court, culminating in the displacement of Maevis and its staff from their offices at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikwe Aiport, Abuja”.
Prof Osinbanjo further argued that the act was done despite the fact that FAAN’s counsel, Mr. Kola Awodein (SAN) had in the hearing of the case on the 19th of May 2011 given an undertaking that his client would not infract upon the judge’s ruling.
In his response, Mr Awodein informed the Court of FAAN’s pending preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the committal application. He argued that the objection ought to be taken, prior to the hearing of the committal application.
But Professor Osinbajo objected to this line of argument, contending that contempt proceedings takes precedence over a challenge to the jurisdiction of the court.
In her ruling, Justice Murtala-Nyako emphasized that contempt proceedings are “quasi-criminal in nature and that all contemnors are supposed to be present in court.”
The judge subsequently ordered the management of FAAN, to appear before the court and adjourned till Wednesday, 4th April, for hearing of the contempt charge.