The immediate past minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, approved the concession of on-street parking zones and electronic payment system for 15 companies just two days before leaving office despite a subsisting court case challenging the action.
A document of the transport secretariat in the FCTA, signed by the then secretary of the transport secretariat, Engr. Jonathan Ivoke, dated May 25, 2015, and obtained by LEADERSHIP, said that the purpose of the memo was to brief the FCT minister about the completed concession evaluation process for on-street parking operations.
The minister’s approval means the park and pay services would soon return to the territory, especially the city centre.
While he approved the issuance of provisional license to the concessionaires, the agreements to cover the five-year contracts are to be drafted in liaison with the legal secretariat, the document further showed.
LEADRSHIP recalls that an Abuja high court presided over by Justice Peter Affen had, in April 2014, declared illegal,the policy that mandated motorists within the FCT to pay stipulated amounts to park their cars at specific locations within the city centre.
Justice Affen had, in his judgment, held that the ‘park-and-pay’policy was bereft of any recognisable backing of the law, though he agreed that the policy would have been an excellent scheme if underscored by law. He directed the FCT administration to forthwith cease operation of the system.
The plaintiff, Sun Trust Savings and Loans Ltd, who had sued the
FCT minister and two others, accused them of collecting illegal fees from motorists through the park and pay policy.
The plaintiff, among other things, had urged the court to determine whether the policy of the FCT was backed by any act of theNational Assembly as provided by the 1999 Constitution and whether the defendants could collect taxes, rates and fees without such a law.
However, commenting on the award of licenses to 15 new firms, a source knowledgable about the policy said that by this development, the FCTA transportation secretariat had not only infringed on the rights of the Platinum Parking Management Services (PPMS) and Integrated Parking Management Services (IPS), the initiators of the on-street parking management scheme, but it had also disregarded an ongoing court case instituted against it by PPMS and IPS.
LEADERSHIP learnt that the two companies had taken the FCTA to court challenging its decision to award the contract to the new firms whereas their existing concession had not elapsed yet. They were billed to elapse in 2017, had it not been temporarily stopped by a court order due to the absence of an enabling law. The case is before the high court in Apo, FCT.
He said, “The initiative by PPMS was designed to bring sanity and orderliness in the FCT among motorists, with regard to on-street illegal parking. Present trend indicates that the FCTA transportation secretariat is on the rampage, waiting to deal ruthlessly with violators of on-street parking rules. In fact, intended fines by offenders are simply too high. Money making was not the goal.”
A competent source at the transport secretariat said the immediate past minister gave the approval because the FCT Internal Revenue Board had been set up, thereby giving a legal backing to the park and pay policy.
Culled from http://leadership.ng/news/442915/how-bala-mohammed-licensed-15-new-fct-park-and-pay-operators-2-days-to-handover