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Court backs states, strikes out Nigerian govt’s plea to deduct $418m consultancy fee from Paris Club refund

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The Federal Government’s appeal against a Federal High Court ruling preventing deduction of $418 million from bank accounts of Nigerian states has been struck out.

The 36 states had filed a motion tabled before the high court, asking that the FG should be restricted from deducting $418 million claimed to be consultants’ fee for the Paris Club refund.

Following the restriction granted by the judge, Inyang Ekwo, the FG prayed that the court vacate the order through submissions from 43 defendants, among whom were attorney-general of the federation (AGF), and the Debt Management Office (DMO).

Idumodin Ogumu, counsel to two of the defendants, Panic Alert Security Services Systems Ltd and George Uboh, said the order was no longer effective, as it had expired.

Read also: Malami, NGF in war of words over $418m Paris Club refund payment to consultants

The head of the states’ legal team, Jibrin Okutepa, argued against the submissions, and Justice Ekwo supported his counter argument, maintaining status quo on the initial order.

The judge adjourned the matter to December 13, 2021, further heightening the tension around the controversial consultant fee, which the state said must be audited before payment is made.

This has created a divide between the state governments and the Presidency, which is insisting $418 million be deducted from state confers and handed to the consultants.

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