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Monday, 18 November 2019

Court Stops Mastercard From Issuing National Identity Card As Cham Seek N114 Billion in Damages

A Federal High Court in Lagos has directed that Mastercard and her agents stop issuing the National Identity card.

Justice R.M. Aikawa made the ruling following an exparte motion filed by Chams Plc and Chams Consortium Limited (CCL) on August 28, 2019.

The ex parte which also involved an Anton Pillar order was issued on November 7, 2019. Cham in their statement of claim is asking Mastercard to pay the sum of 114 billion naira (N114B) for damages.

According to reports, other defendants in the case include Ajay Banga, President & Chief Executive Mastercard international, Omokehinde Ojomuyide, Country Representative of Mastercard in Nigeria, Daniel Monehin, the staff of Mastercard, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), and 22 commercial banks as respondents.

The order of the court states inter alia, “An order of interim injunction restraining the defendants, whether acting by themselves or by their directors, officers, servants, agents, technical managers, or otherwise however from further manufacturing, producing, designing and or printing or authorizing the manufacturing, production, designing and or printing of any National Identity Card with MasterCard logo as described in paragraph 16 of the supporting affidavit in Exhibit CC9 pending the determination of the motion on notice filed for hearing.”

Twenty-two respondent banks in Nigeria were also given a similar order restraining them from honoring or giving effect to any transaction from Mastercard. The Anton Pillar Order has empowered the prosecuting solicitor Kemi Pinheiro SAN of Pinheiro LP, Inspector General of Police (IG) or any senior police officer not below the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police to search any of their premises, take into possession and remove any document relating to the said affidavit. They are also empowered to inspect, take pictures or arrest anybody found to be contravening the orders of the court.

An analysis of the statement of Claims shows that  84 billion naira is for special damages as a result of loss of expected revenue for 8 years, while 10 billion Naira is for general damages of fraud perpetrated jointly and severally against the claimants and 20 billion Naira for inducing the breach and termination of the Concessions awarded to the Claimants by 3rd Defendant which occurred as a result of the 1st and 2nd Defendants’ fraudulent actions.

In 2006, the Federal Government had invited Chams to bid for the National ID project. It put forth its case and emerged as the preferred bidder for the Nigeria National Identity Card (NIC) concession. Before and upon the execution of a concession agreement with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Chams Plc pursued the implementation of the NIC concession by incorporating ChamsConsortium Limited (CCL), a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) with the sole purpose of implementing the NIC concession.

Chams Plc also invited MasterCard to work with the ChamsConsortium as one of its technical partners on the NIC concession. Surprisingly and to the disappointment of Chams and other stakeholders, MasterCard went on to collude with others using technical information and design shared with them by Chams to frustrate the concession won by Chams and the more than US$100m Chams/CCL invested in the project

In an open letter published earlier in the year to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chams PLC and CCL asked MasterCard to accept wrongdoing, apologize for the breach of contract and pay compensation to CCL and Chams Plc for their more than US$100m Investment and accumulated losses.

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