The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has faulted allegations by Lead Consultants working on the London and Paris Club refunds as regards the $418 million Paris Club Refund.

On Saturday, Nwoko alleged that the consultancy fee owed by the states and local governments was $68 million and not $418 million as claimed by the governors.

He said the original claims calculated based on agreed terms were in excess of $300 million, but his firm “offered huge discount on the entitlement to accept the $68 million.”

Nwoko had also alleged that when a bill of $350 million was submitted as a consultancy fee, governors had demanded to be paid 50 percent of it before it could be honored.

However, NGF, in a statement signed by Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, head of media and public affairs, faulted Nwoko.

He declared that no attempt to blur and obfuscate the real facts and legal issues in the refund controversy by dishing out blatant lies and half-truths would erase the truth.

He described as lies claims by Nwoko that the NGF demanded and received $100 million to prosecute elections in Bauchi, Ekiti, and Ondo states.

But Bello-Barkindo said the forum was not surprised about the desperation of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to use spurious and futile advocacy through “so-called Paris Club Consultants to justify the plundering of the humongous sum of $418.9 million from the public treasury of the States and Local Governments.”

He described Nwoko as being clever by half when he singled out and justify his own bogus claim of $68 million, insisting that the total amount which all the consultants working in concert, collectively seek and claim from the states and local governments, albeit unlawfully, is $418,953,690.59.

The NGF said Nwoko’s decision to go solo to make his own case without reference to others suggests that the union of consultants is gradually falling apart. It advised one of the lead consultants to end the media war and direct all energies towards defending the appeals, noting that as its common with unholy alliances, it appears the romance between the consultants and their determination to fight together under the AGF’s tacit coordination to pull out of the States the sum of $418,953,690.59 may have suffered a crack.

The statement from the NGF read in part:

“The facts are and will always remain: whether the claims of the consultants are lawful and justified under our constitution and whether any judgment which is a subject of a pending appeal can be enforced or executed as the consultants now attempt to do?” the statement reads.

“If both questions are answered in the negative, it does not matter if the contracts leading to the claims were entered into by any public official, past or present.

“No person or persons can agree to blatantly circumvent our constitution and get away with it. Neither is the period when judgments were obtained of consequence in this case.”

NGF further said Nwoko only singled out and justified his own fee, which is part of the controversial $418 million.

“While he strenuously tried to single out and justify his own bogus claim of $68 million; the total amount which all the consultants, working in concert, collectively seek and claim from the states and LGAs, albeit unlawfully, is $418,953,690.59.

“Broken down as follows: Ned Munir Nwoko $68,658,192.83; Ted Isighohi Edwards $159,000,000; and Panic Alert Security System Ltd $47,831,920.

“Others are Riok Nig, Ltd $142,028,941.95, Prince Orji Orizu $1,219,440.45; and barrister Olaitan Bello $215,195.36, which makes the total of $418,953,690.59.

“The attempt by Ned, therefore, to separate his own claim of $68 million as if it is not related to the claims of other consultants is being clever by half.

“All the consultants claim to have rendered the same or similar service of helping the states and LGs to recover over-deducted Paris Club refunds by the federal government performed some contracts to be paid from the Paris Club refunds.

“It is, therefore, needless joining issues with Ned Nwoko or indeed any of the consultants. It is, however, imperative to debunk patent lies dished out in order to disabuse the minds of the undiscerning public.

“In his desperation to justify his claim, Ned peddled untruths that his team was a member of the federal government committee constituted to reconcile figures under the Paris Club refunds to the states and local governments. That is patently false. The report of that committee dated May 2007 shows that only the FMF, OAGF, CBN, DMO, and RMFC (secretariat) were members.”



By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye,
The Sun

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