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$418m Paris Club refund: Governors appeal judgment



Attorneys-general of the 36 states has appealed a judgment that dismissed a suit seeking to restrain the federal government from effecting the planned deduction of $418 million from states’ funds to settle the Paris Club Fund debt.

The money is meant to settle debts owed consultants engaged by state and local governments on the Paris Club refunds.
The plaintiffs in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1313/202 sought to restrain the president and others from effecting the planned deduction of $418 million from states’ funds to settle the debt owed consultants engaged by states and LGs.

The controversial payment of $418 million to consultants over the Paris Club refund had become a contentious issue between the three tiers of government.

Consultants had claimed the amount as a percentage for the payment of services rendered to the states and local government councils.

The federal government has maintained that its decision to deduct the fund to settle some consultants were based on a previous verdict of the court.

Our correspondent reports that the Federal High Court in Abuja, had on March 25 dismissed the suit instituted by the 36 states’ Attorneys-General challenging plans by the Federal Government to deduct funds from the federation account to settle $418 million judgment debt in relation to the Paris Club refund.

Inyang Ekwo, the judge, while delivering judgment on March 25, held that the state attorneys-general lack the legal standing to institute the lawsuit with the consent of their respective governors.

However, the attorneys-general, in a statement on Tuesday, advised the general public and all financial institutions in Nigeria and abroad that the matter is subjudice and urged them to desist from dealing with the defendants in the suit.

The statement, signed by S.I. Ameh, J.S. Okutepa, Garba Tetengi, Ahmed Raji and Olumuyiwa Akinboro, advised the public not to deal with the defendants in the suit “with respect to promissory notes issued to them and intended to be discounted and given value from funds due to the states of the federation from the federation account in respect of judgment debts arising from suits in connection with the London Paris club contracts pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

“Be it known that any person or persons who take steps in respect of the promissory notes in the face of the pending appeal do at his or her peril”, the statement reads.

According to the statement, the defendants that the general public are advised not to deal with are Dr Chris Asoluka (doing business under the name and style of NIPAL Consulting Network, Linas International Limited, Joe Odey Agi, (Practising under the name and style of Joe Agi, SAN & Associates).

Others according to the statement include Riok Nigeria Limited, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, Dr Ted Iseghohi Edwards, Panix Alert Security Systems Limited, Dr George Uboh, Ned Munir Nwoko, Prince Orji Orizu and Olaitan Bello.

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