Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Paris Club refund: Consultant sues govs, demands N53.6 billion fee

Paris Club refund: Consultant sues govs, demands N53.6 billion fee
One of the consultants in the payment of the Paris Club loan refund to the states has sued the 36 state governors in his bid to compel them to pay him $176m or the naira equivalent of N53.6bn (at official N305/dollar) as his consultancy fee.
The consultant, Ned Nwoko, accused the governors and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum of paying those he described as phoney consultants.

Nwoko had initially written to the NGF to demand the payment of the fee as agreed between his firm and the states.
In his statement of claims, he said, “Despite repeated demands, the defendants have failed or refused or neglected to pay to me the sums due to me for the services rendered.
“That I have not been paid the sums due and payable to me by the state governments and that the defendants made payment of the said sum to some phoney and sham consultants.”
He stated in the statement of claim that he was “ready and willing to give an undertaking as to damages.”
Nwoko argued that instead of “paying to me the sums due and payable to me for the legal and consultancy services rendered, which led to the realisation of the said release and payment (of the Paris Club refund),” the NGF, governors, Ministry of Finance “caused part of the said money released for legal and consultancy fees to be paid to phoney and sham consultants, who did not render any consultancy and legal services to the state governments.
It was learnt on Sunday that Ned Nwoko Solicitors, also asked that his firm be paid $71,936,881.36 and N21,940,748,814.30 by 15 states.
Nwoko’s demand was one of the several letters received by the NGF secretariat from consultants, who claimed to have been engaged by the state governments.
It was learnt that the 36 governors of the federation were becoming worried as the number of consultants demanding certain percentage of the Paris Club loan refund continued to increase.
Investigations showed that many of the consultants had sent their letters to the governors while others routed theirs through the national secretariat of the NGF.
The demands were later sent to the NGF.
All the governors, in their letters to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had asked that five per cent of the loan refund to their states be deducted and paid to the NGF directly.
The majority of the letters were titled, ‘Re: Over-deduction on Paris and London Clubs loans on the accounts of state and local governments (1995-2002)’.
A letter from one of the governors requested the minister to “deduct the payment of five per cent consultants’ fee at source from states’ entitlement and paid directly into the NGF secretariat account provided below to defray related consulting and incidental expenses.”
The letters also listed the accounts which the money was to be paid into.
Sources close to the governors said some of the consultants were, however, asking for what was described as a ridiculous amount from the governors.

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