29 November 2012

Nigeria: Company Breached Malaysian Garden Project Pact - FCTA

The controversy surrounding the stalled Malaysian Gardens mass housing project located in Saraji District of Abuja has taken a fresh dimension with the FCT Administration (FCTA) saying the company handling the project, Global Formwork Nig. Ltd., breached agreement and expressed doubt about the involvement of the Malaysian High Commission in Nigeria.

Global Formwork Nigeria Limited was given provisional allocation of 510 hectares of land in Saraji District early in 2004 to build 14,085 housing units within 10 years but, according to the FCT Administration, the company broke the Development Lease Agreement (DLA) which it signed in 2004 with the FCTA.

In an advertorial placed in the Daily Trust yesterday, FCT spokesperson Jamilah Tangaza said it doubted the authenticity of an earlier advertorial of 12th November from the office of the Commissioner of Malaysia to Nigeria, H.E.Dato Nik Mustafa Kamal Nik Ahmad which contained serious allegations against FCT Minister Bala Mohammed.

The purported advertorial had alleged that the minister had demanded 80% of the total land area of the Malaysian Garden project and refused to approve engineering drawings, a situation which has put the developer in a dilemma and the project in jeopardy.

But Tangaza said all documents and physical evidences including status of the project eight years after the commencement of the DLA indicated that the company was unable to pay the mandatory N433.6 million building plan approval and supervision.

Tangaza recalled that the Senator Saidu Mohammed Dansadau Committee on Land Administration had in 2010 recommended an outright revocation of the land for the Malaysia Gardens project, a conclusion which was later approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

She stressed that due to the magnanimity of the incumbent minister, he set up an implementation committee headed by the then FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr. Nathaniel Olorunfemi and the committee recommended that 100 out of the 510 hectares be given to the company to carry on with their proposed project since as at then (2011) only 24 out of 14,085 units of houses had been built in seven years.

When Daily Trust contacted Globalform work lawyer, Chief Jerome Okolo (SAN), he said the company would soon react adding that he needed more time to study the minister's reaction.

Meanwhile, the matter has been referred for arbitration by the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Justice Gummi Hassan Lawal. Parties are still at the stage of exchanging pleadings.

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