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Paris Club Refund: Governors took $100m for state elections – Consultants

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THE consultants working on the Paris Club refund have alleged that the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) demanded and received $100 million to prosecute elections in some states.

The Lead Consultant, Ned Nwoko, stated this while briefing journalists in Abuja on Saturday.

Nwoko, who was speaking on the protracted controversies surrounding the balance of the consultancy fees owed to the consultants by the NGF, alleged that when he submitted a bill of $350 million as the consultancy fee, the state governors demanded to be paid 50 per cent of it before it could be honoured.

He said a former forum chairman of the NGF had explained that the money was needed to prosecute elections in Bauchi, Ekiti and Ondo states.

According to him, the Ministry of Justice intervened, and the governors eventually received $100 million.

Nwoko revealed that the money owed to the consultants was $68 million, not $418 million, as reported in the media.

The consultant further said that he and his colleagues have nothing to do with $418 million, which, he said, must be a miscalculation.

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He also absolved the Attorney General of the Federation Abubakar Malami of any wrongdoing as he said the minister was only trying to ensure that the law was obeyed.

Nwoko stated that the agreements and judgments being executed were reached before the advent of the present administration.

He accused the NGF Chairman, Ekiti State governor Kayode Fayemi of being unfaithful over the payment to the consultants.

“For a very long time, the governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of NGF has said so many inconsistent and misleading things. I felt I should restrain myself from joining issues with him”, he said.

“I am compelled to debunk the litany of lies by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum.”

Nwoko faulted the NGF for saying that there was no indemnity, even as he deflected the position of the governors that there was no Supreme Court judgment against LINAS or himself, adding, “If there is any, I will volunteer to forgo my money.”

On the alleged lies by the NGF, he said that the NGF did not act or represent the state governors over the current round of refunds on the Paris Club.

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He said it was also false that past administrations refused to pay the consultancy fees, stating that refund of the funds to the state governments started under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

He stressed that the current controversies would have been avoided if the NGF had paid and followed the agreement the consultants had with it.

Contrary to claims by the NGF that it did not give the Federal Government any indemnity over the payment of the consultants, Nwoke said the governors did.

Nwoko added: “The NGF chairman, Governor Fayemi said there was no court Order of mandamus against the Federal Ministry of Finance and Attorney General. By Court Order dated 21st July, 2021 Federal High Court compelled Finance Minister, DMO DG and HAGF to either pay the value or issue Promissory Notes.

“The Governors gave the Federal Government Indemnity. The 1st Investigation over this matter was at the instance of the HAGF. The EFCC lacks the technical expertise to Investigate this matter.

“Claims that states and local governments have not been fully paid notwithstanding that states have been paid $10 billion following from the litigation I commenced In 2014 and LGAs $3.1 billion following from the litigation I commenced in 2013.

“There no court judgment in favour of NGF against either LINAS International Limited or Ned Nwoko Solicitors. On the contrary we have judgments against them which they are trying to circumvent by all means.”

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