PARIS CLUB UPDATE: Gov. Okowa Confirms Diversion Of N3 Billion As Court Freezes Delta, Abia, Cross-River States Bank Accounts Over Alleged Fraud


……Aniagwu’s Explanations On Delta N10 Billion Paris Club Refund Shows Huge Diversion

Delta state governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa has tactically confirmed HardReporters story of his (Okowa’s) alleged diversion of a whopping sum of N3 billion from the N10 billion Paris Club Refund recently disbursed by the Federal Government to state governments which Delta state ranked among the first five highest paid states.

The N3 billion diversion, HardReporters reliably gathered was meant for governor Okowa to prosecute his 2019 second tenure elections.

Speaking during ‘Trend Talk’, a radio programme on Trend 100.9Fm Asaba, Monday, monitored by HardReporters correspondent, the governor through his Chief Press Secretary, (CPS), Mr. Charles Aniagwu stated that the setting aside of N3 billion was for infrastructure and payment of contractors, stressing that government exists for everybody and not just for the payment of salaries of workers which are less than 2 percent of the population of the state.

“If the government spends virtually all that comes to pay salaries of workers, what happens to the larger chunk of the population?” Aniagwu queried.

In what looks like a contradiction, Aniagwu, further went ahead to say that the sum of N2 billion plus was earmarked for priority projects that require urgent attention and payment of contractors when he had also stated that another N3 billion was set aside for infrastructure and payment of contractors again.

In what looks like a hidden corrupt agenda, been concealed from Deltans, the governor’s spokesman stated that another N5 billion was also set aside for the settlement of certain issues relating to certain aspect of salary arrears, co-operative deductions and pensions, an explanation that does not go down well with Deltans.

“Out of the N10bn, local governments in the state were given N2.1bn as their statutory share while about N5bn was set aside to settle certain issues relating to certain aspect of salary arrears, co-operative deductions and pensions. The sum of N2bn plus was earmarked for priority projects that require urgent attention and payment of contractors.

According to the governor’s CPS, the Okowa led administration was committed to the prudent, transparent and accountable management of the state’s resources just as he is committed to taking decisions that will be in the best interest of the people.

“Governor Okowa has vowed to remain prudent, transparent and accountable to the people because he realises that the ultimate political power rests on the people who overwhelmingly voted him into office. He has assured that Deltans will get value for every money that accrues to the state at all times.”

On the payment of local government workers salaries, Aniagwu stated that the local governments are a separate tier of government, adding that the State Government is not responsible for the payment of their salaries.

“Even though we assisted them in the past, we couldn’t continue in the present economic circumstance as we have our own challenges because a man cannot give what he doesn’t have”.

Aniagwu however assured that the State Government with the support from the Nigeria Society of Engineers will tackle headlong the flooding of Asaba while also reiterating the government’s commitment to completing the Okpanam road, DLA and Mariam Babangida roads.

The governor’s mouth piece deliberately skipped giving any explanations on the N15 billion received by the state government for June monthly allocation few days ago even as local government council chairmen grumbled over what they called paltry N2.1 billion released by governor Okowa for the offset of over 15 months salaries been owed the council workers across the 25 council areas.

Meanwhile, a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court presided over by Justice Yusuf Halilu has issued an ex-parte order directing that the Paris-London Club Refund bank accounts of Abia, Cross River, and Delta states to be frozen.

The accounts listed to be frozen are as follows: Abia state Paris and London Club Debit Refund, 1019892950, UBA Bank Plc; CRS Paris and London Club Debit Refund, 101989719, UBA Bank Plc; and DTSG CRS Paris and London Club Debit Refund, 1012906702, Zenith Bank Plc respectively.

The court gave the order following allegations that the governors of the three states preferred payment to family members, friends, and cronies in the guise of settling the fees for consultancy services at the expense of the real consultant progenitor of the Paris-London Club Refund.

Abia state government reportedly owes the real consultant progenitor the sum of $11,325,000 and N1.72bn; Cross River state government owes the sum of $8,050,000 and N1.2bn; While, Delta state government owes $27,274,135 and N3bn.

The court order was sequel to an affidavit in support of ex-parte originating summons sworn to by Dr. Maurice Ibe, the Chairman and Managing Director of Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd, and filed before the court by his Counsel; Alex Marama, Charles Ude, and Kenneth N. Esq

Ibe contested that there is an urgent need for the court to direct the third defendants (United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc and Zenith Bank Nig. Plc) in the suits CV/2470/17, CV/2536/17, CV/2469/17 and motions M/8777/17, M8780/17, M/8784/17 to, in the interim, stop further disbursement of the money already in or accruing to the respective Paris-London Club Refund accounts domiciled with them which belong to the three states respectively.

The Court also ordered the banks to set up an escrow account where the said funds will be deposited pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

Abia state government led by Theophilus Orji had engaged Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd on the 3rd of November, 2014 to pursue the refund of excess deductions on foreign loans and miscellaneous charges in exchange of 30 percent of any fund recovered.

Similarly, Cross River government engaged the same consultancy firm on the same date for the same purpose in exchange of 20 percent of any fund recovered.

Delta state government under governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan also engaged the services of Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd in exchange of 30 percent of any fund recovered.

Justice Halilu, after granting the order freezing the accounts, adjourned the suit to 7th September, 2017 for hearing.


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