$418m Paris Club Refund: Governors’ Complaint Baseless, Mere Noisemaking – AGF Malami

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has said State Governors complaining over deductions from Paris Club refund are just making noise.

According to Malami, the Governors are not in a position to complain about deductions from the Paris Club refund because they collectively hired consultants who aided the refunds.

DailyPost stated that the Minister said this on Thursday, when he was featured at the Ministerial Media Briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said the governors acting as state chief executives created the debt liability whose payment they have also indemnified.

Addressing the controversy caused by the recent deductions made from the refund, the Minister affirmed that when the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) asked for refunds, one of the components was the settlement of the consultants who were engaged by the forum.

 

Malami recalled that when the refund was paid to the states, part payments were also made to the consultants.

 

However, he said the governors later decided to stop payment while asking for an out-of-court settlement.

The Minister said this resulted in requests to the President to make the payment, a request he said, was then passed on to the Office of the AGF for a legal opinion.

Malami noted that after being subjected to necessary checks, it was found that there was no element of fraud involved.

He explained that the indemnity of the governors was also sought and received.

“On the issue of Paris club that is raised. You mentioned that there exists a presidential directive that payments should not be made and then in breach of that position payments were perhaps arising from the conspiracy between the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

” I think you need to be informed first, as to the antecedents, prevailing circumstances and how the liability arose but one thing I’m happy to state, which I want to reiterate having stated same earlier, is the fact that the Office of the Attorney General and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has not indeed incurred any major judgment debt for the period of seven years it has been on.

“Now, coming to the antecedents background of the Paris Club. The liability or judgement debts related to Paris Club were indeed a liability created by the governor’s forum in their own right.

“How do I mean? The Governor’s forum comprising of all the governors sat down and commonly agreed on the engagement of a consultant to provide certain services for them relating to the recovery of the Paris Club. So, it was the governor’s forum under the federal government in the first place that engaged the consultant.

“Two, when eventually, successes were recorded associated with the refund, associated with Paris Club, the governors collectively and individually presented a request to the federal government for the fund. And among the components of the claim presented for the consideration of the federal government was a component related to the payment of these consultants that are now constituting the subject of contention. So the implication of that is that the governors in their own right recognized the consultant, recognized their claim and presented such claims to the federal government.

“Three, when the claims were eventually processed and paid to the governor’s forum. They indeed on their own, without the intervention of the federal government took steps to make part payments to the consultants, acknowledging their liability over same.

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