More revelations have emerged on the controversial $418 million Paris Club Refund which is causing friction between the Justice Minister and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) and governors on the platform of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).
Speaking in Abuja on behalf of consultants working on the London and Paris Club refunds, Chief Ned Nwoko, the Lead Consultant for the recovery of over deductions from Paris and London clubs debt buy back funds, accused the governors of lying about the figure.
He declared that contrary to $418 million in public space, the money being owed the consultants is only $68 million.
He also accused governors of demanding and receiving $100 million from the refund to prosecute elections in Bauchi, Ekiti and Ondo states.
Nwoko, Lead Consultant of Linas International, wondered why governors “are attacking the Justice Minister. He is only trying to ensure that the law of the land is obeyed”
The popular politician from Delta State alleged that when he submitted a bill of more than $300 million as the consultancy fee, governors demanded to be paid 50 per cent of it before it could be honoured.
“At that time, a former Chairman of the Governors’ Forum explained that the money was needed to prosecute elections in Bauchi, Ekiti and Ondo states.
Nwoko explained that the consultants had nothing to do with $418 million, which he described as ‘a miscalculation’.
Nwoko said he was reacting to the flurry of allegations and claims trailing his company’s demand for the payment of fees from the state governments and local governments.
He frowned at recent outbursts of NGF Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, regarding the Paris Club refund.
Malami had featured at the weekly briefings coordinated by the Presidential Media Team, on August 11, where he spoke extensively on issues surrounding the refund,
He stated that there was no basis for agitation by the NGF concerning deductions from the Paris Club refund paid to the consultants they hired.
Malami had also described the governors’ action as akin to crying over spilled milk.
The governors after their deliberations at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday, allegedly accused the Minister of orchestrating the deductions from their funds to settle the consultancy fees.
Nwoko, however, absolved Malami of any wrongdoing as he said the minister was only trying to ensure that the law was obeyed.
He revealed that the money being owed to the consultants was $68 million and not $418 million.
”I am compelled to embark on this public engagement to debunk the litany of lies, spin and false narratives that had been dished out.
”This was to abuse the minds of the undiscerning public by the Chairman of NGF, Fayemi, against the payment of consultancy fees.
”The fees are legitimately earned and owed my firm for services rendered and which the states and local governments have fully been refunded.
”The outstanding fees owed my firm with regards to last work done for the states is approximately $68 million and not $418 million as maliciously sought to be conveyed by Fayemi and co.
”Our original claims calculated based on agreed terms was well in excess of $300 million.
”We offered huge discount on the entitlement to accept the $68 million,” he said.
Nwoko stated that the agreements and judgement being executed were reached before the advent of the present administration.