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Consultants sue Enugu for N10b over Paris Club refund

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Consulting firms, Mauritz Walton Nigeria Limited and Bizplus Consulting Services Limited, have asked a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, to order Enugu State Government to pay them N10.2 billion from the Paris Club refund.

The amount formed 20 per cent of the N44.4 billion the firm helped the state to recover from the Federal Government. According to the claimants, the debt was as a result of the defendants’ failure to pay the claimants the agreed 20 per cent consultancy fee for its role in the refund of excess deductions in the Paris Club loans.

Between 2002 and 2007, the Federal Government, through its Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), in collaboration with the 36 states, reconciled the external loans/debts and, in the process, discovered that excess deductions under the first line charge were made to service foreign loans owed by the Federal Government and the states.

Owing to the discrepancies, Enugu, like some other states, engaged the services of the firm, through a letter dated June 9, 2014, to help reconcile and recover the money over-deducted from Enugu coffers from 1992 to 2008.

Claimants in the suit marked M/1993/2021, are Bizplus Consulting Services and Maurice Walton, while Enugu and its Attorney-General are first and second defendants respectively.

In the 31-paragraph witness statement on oath deposed to by Dr. Maurice Ibe, the claimants said that Enugu government agreed to pay them 20 per cent of all monies recovered/paid from/by The Federal Government upon reconciliation and agreement on the exact excess debit.”

Based on the agreement, the claimants said they went ahead to intensify engagement with the Ministry/Minister of Finance and the Debt Management Office (DMO) wherein they were able to prove that the state government, between June 1995 and March 2002, suffered excess deductions regarding its external loans repayment in the sum of $142,034,156.

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