$13b Paris Club refunds: CUPP flays governors’ refusal to pay consultants
The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has accused the 36 state governors of showing insincerity about their refusal to pay consultants involved in the $13 billion Paris Club refunds.
The coalition specifically described the insistence by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to block the payment of consultants that facilitated the recovery of the fund as an injustice that should be rejected by well-meaning Nigerians.
The $418 million Paris Club debt refund fee has been a subject of controversy between the NGF and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in recent weeks.
While Malami said the NGF had no justification to reject the proposed deductions of consultancy fee from the Paris Club refunds, the governors insisted that the deductions for the payment of the fee were illegal, noting that position of Malami on the matter was “fraudulent and self-serving.”
Addressing journalists on the matter in Abuja, yesterday, National Co-Spokesman of CUPP, Comrade Mark Adebayo, said there were “deliberate efforts being made by certain interested parties to obfuscate the facts in order to direct the narratives to suit their nefarious purposes and interests.”
According to him, Nigerians have been misled by propaganda and deliberate misinformation on the subject matter for so long, saying that could not be allowed to continue.
Adebayo maintained that the AGF acted in good faith in accordance with the realities of the matter and subsisting rulings and orders of courts of competent jurisdiction on it.
He said: “It is instructive to reveal that the same NGF complaining about the payment of consultancy fee collected monies appropriated for payment for consultancy services. We discovered that they collected at different times the sum of $86.4 million and N19 billion.
“They also collected $100 million. We found that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been investigating some of these and some forfeitures made.
“Secondly, with regard to Linas International and Ned Nwoko Solicitors, the sole consultants in the Paris/London Club refunds, which has been mostly in the eye of the storm, the sum of $418 million USD being associated with Nwoko has never been a claim made by him as we have now discovered.
“His demand has always been the payment of the outstanding to be paid him on the works done for the states and Local Government Areas (LGAs) on the recovered funds being the consultancy agreement officially entered into with the state governments in recovering the over-deductions from their allocations to the latter by the Federal Government for several years.
“The balance of $68 million promissory notes is for the job done for states. As far as Linas work for LGAs is concerned, part payment was made by the Federal Government on the work done for LGAs and the balance remains outstanding.”
Adebayo wondered why the governors were refusing to pay the balance of the outstanding consultancy fee having made part-payments.
“Having carried out such an outstanding assignment for the states and LGAs to assist them to recover billions of dollars that they never imagined they could get, one would have thought that one good turn deserved another and that the NGF and ALGON would, without any hesitation, fulfil their pre-assignment financial obligations to Ned Nwoko Solicitors and Linas International. That’s not the case here.
“The questions are: Why are the governors doing this? Why would they block the legitimate earnings of a Nigerian citizen who worked so hard to rescue you from financial calamity? A man who deserves a national award is now being treated like a common criminal and being painted bad by the public.
“This is an egregious injustice that must be reversed immediately by fully meeting the financial obligations entered into with Nwoko Solicitors and his firm and rest this matter permanently.
“Now, after investing his own money to engage professionals – auditors, chartered accountants, lawyers, forensic experts, etc – locally and internationally – who worked so hard to secure these refunds, the NGF is blocking the payment of his fees for not just cause. This is the crux of the matter that must be resolved immediately,” he added.