The Nigeria Governors’ Forum has charged Attorney- General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN, of having more than just a casual interest in the disputed $418 million Paris Club return request by consultants.
The allegation was made in a statement issued by the NGF’ s Head of Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazaque Bello- Barkindo, in Abuja on Monday, titled ‘ Re: Paris Club Refund: FG counters states, insists deduction lawful, NGF: Deduction not only unlawful, but also contrary to public policy and morality. ‘
The Federal Government was prevented from withdrawing $418 million from the bank accounts of the 36 states of the federation by a Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday.
The amount reportedly owing the consultants for services done during the reimbursement talks has been a cause of contention among the three levels of government.
According to Bello- Barkindo, Dr. Umar Gwandu’ s outspoken support for the consultants against the states on Friday ” raises questions of propriety and the spirit of fairness. ”
The payment in question, according to the NGF spokeswoman, was made in favour of private contractors and/or consultants for supposed work on the Paris Club reimbursement for the states and local governments.
” We need to explain clearly that when we initially saw this news release, we had to double- check to make sure it wasn’ t written by a lawyer who represented one or all of the promissory note beneficiaries, ” he added.
Malami’ s assertion that he interfered to pay the contractors to avert the implementation of judgements against the Federal Government’ s resources was regarded as incorrect by Bello- Barkindo.
He also refuted suggestions that the NGF and local governments were attempting to shift their obligation to the federal government, claiming that there was no culpability to begin with.
According to him, the NGF has not given the Federal Government any assurance or indemnification that it will act on its behalf as represented by the AGF.
Malami should remain impartial and conserve precious public resources, according to Bello- Barkindo.