The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has sounded the alarm over an alleged attempt to withdraw $418 million from the federation’s account to settle the Paris club’s disputed debt.
This was announced by the governors in a letter dated August 1 addressed to Boss Mustapha, the Government Secretary of the Federation (SGF).
They claimed that the plan is spearheaded by Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), and Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance.
“The NGF’s attention was drawn to another attempt by the Attorney General’s Office (AGF) and the Treasury Secretary (HMF) to circumvent the law and the recent Supreme Court ruling by surreptitiously obtaining authorization from the FEC to carry out the payment of the A total of $418 million to four contractors allegedly executing contracts relating to Paris Club reimbursements to states and local governments,” read the letter, signed by Kayode Fayemi, NGF President and
Governor of Ekiti
“It should be recalled that an earlier authorization by Mr. President, under the instrumentation of AGF and HMF, to pay this sum to contractors through the issuance of promissory notes, met with strong opposition from the governors of 36 states, who are appealing to the court contacted to get a repair. by their Attorneys General.
“The matter is currently pending hearing at the Abuja Court of Appeal”.
“Significantly, the Governors said that one of the contractors who is the beneficiary of the $142,028,941.95 notes, Riok Nigeria Limited, and who lost in the Court of Appeals while the appeal is pending, re-appealed to the Supreme Court inserted. , in experiment no. SC 337/2018.
“The Supreme Court also dismissed Riok’s appeal as unfounded on June 3, 2022. The SC had clarified on the occasion that neither the NGF nor ALGON have the authority to place orders and to charge them directly to the association’s account, as was done in this case. The SC specifically stated on page 43 that:
“Funds owned by a State or a local government must be held in an account owned by the State or a local government and disbursed or spent by the State solely in the art and manner and in such manners as are prescribed by the Constitution and any appropriation statute or as prescribed by the State House of Assembly, and in the manner and for the purposes prescribed by the Constitution, any local government statute or the local government council. ”
According to the governors, the court’s dismissal of the RIOK case also affected the payment of $1,219,440.45 and $215,195.36 to two of RIOK’s private attorneys, Nwafor Orizu and Olaitan Bello, who are also beneficiaries of Debt Management Office (DMO) promissory notes.
In addition to RIOK and the two attorneys, the NGF added that the states had also challenged the claims of the other contractors, including Dr. Ted Isighohi Edwards ($159,000,000), Ned Nwoko ($68,658,192.83) and Panic Alert security systems. Ltd ($47,831,920).
“These cases are pending and no action should be taken to enforce the ruling and change the status quo until the issues are fully resolved. A warning had previously been issued to prevent any interested parties and the public from negotiating or redeeming the issued promissory notes,” the NGF added.
“The meaning and essence of the SC’s final statement is that none of the contractors recommended by AGF and HMF for paying the sum of $418 million can be paid because the contracts and payments on which they are based, failing to do so have been prosecuted under the Constitution and the law.
“Of course, the funds cannot be accessed through the association account, as AGF and HMF are strenuously striving to do.
“FEC might also wish to point out that the undue haste with which the payment of contractors in the Paris Club of AGF and HMF was pursued and processed has already given the critical public the impression that it would seem that the interests of the contractors take precedence over the welfare and interests of the community, which senior government officials have sworn to uphold and protect.
Over the years, the controversial payment of $418 million to consultants to be reimbursed by the Paris Club had become a point of contention at all three levels of government.