A scandalous revelation has hit mainstream media on the payment of millions of dollars to creditors, out of the Paris Club refunds; against the supposed approval of Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari.
Secretly acting in their stead, Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, had months earlier began deductions out of the total refund of $418 million, to pay owed contractors, with evidential documents of the federation account dating back to June 28, 2022 and July 7, 2022.
The move however negated the instruction of President Buhari during the last Federal Executive Council held on August 3, 2022, stating that payments be suspended pending court regularities on the issue.
A source recently informed SaharaReporters media outlet that the unapproved payments dated back to 2021.
‘The Paris Club refunds are being paid without Buhari’s knowledge.
‘Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and the AGF (Attorney General of the Federation) Malami and others actually began paying these men since last year using heavily discounted promissory notes,’ the source revealed.
About The Paris Club Fund
To facilitate an $18 billion debt write-off by the Paris Club of international creditors, the Nigerian government in 2006 had paid the sum of $12 billion. The money was deducted from federation revenue; sparking massive debiting of states and local governments who did not owe the Paris Club.
Refunds were demanded to this end, while consultants and services acquired by the states and councils called for direct payments in percentages from the refund. Claims were made by several contractors that they had been asked by the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), to execute projects in Nigeria.
The ALGON-awarded projects were deemed non-existent; as governors demanded for a forensic audit to checkmate any illegality in payment to contractors and consultants—many of whom filed lawsuits to get their payment.
Malami Abubakar, Attorney-General of the Federation, eventually negotiated a settlement outside the legal battles; agreeing to pay $418 million as judgment debt.
The FEC Meeting:
In the meeting held seven days ago, Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, and AG of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, put forward a memo seeking approval to commence funds deduction for states from the federation account. This was contrary to their secret actions prior to the meeting.
Things turned sour as the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola; the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and two other cabinet members, all countered the request, citing pending court cases on the refund.