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Bayelsa Denies Engaging Consultant For Paris Club Refunds

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The Bayelsa state government has said that it was not part of any purported hiring of consultants by the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, in order to receive the first tranche of the Paris club refunds from the federal government.

Ned Nwoko, the purported consultant, has dragged the NGF to court over a N53.6 billion fee that, according to him, was agreed to be paid to him for services rendered with regards to the Paris Club Refund, but was later paid to another consultant who did not render any consultancy service.

However, in a statement issued on Saturday in Yenagoa by the Bayelsa Commissioner for Finance, Maxwell Ebibai, the state government said it had no hand in the hiring of any consultant on the Paris Club refunds.

“The Government did not and has never engaged the services of a Revenue Consultant, in respect of the Paris- Club over-deductions or refunds, neither has it paid any funds to any consultant,” the statement read.

“The policy thrust of the Restoration Government is to ensure accountability, transparency and high ethical standards in the conduct of Government business.

“The good people of Bayelsa State are assured that this Government will do all within its powers and resources to ensure that, no unscrupulous consultant takes undue advantage of the Government,” the commissioner added.

Bayelsa State is yet to receive the second tranche of the Paris Club refunds which disbursement began in March.

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But the state received N14.5 billion in the first tranche paid in December 2016.

Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun had said that states must meet some conditions which were put in place as part of checks and balances to ensure that state governments used the funds disbursed to them for the purpose it was meant.

Some state governors have been accused of misappropriating the funds which President Muhammadu Buhari warned must be used in offsetting salary arrears for indebted states.

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