NGF rejects role in alleged receipt of $100m to fund elections

The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has rejected the allegation that it received $100 million from consultants to fund elections in Ekiti, Bauchi and Osun states.

“The NGF hereby unequivocally declares that it has at no time been involved with or received US$100 million or any other funds from NED Nwoko to fund elections in any state.

The latest is yet to be heard over controversies surrounding the alleged payment of $418 million from the Paris Club Fund to some consultants, as the 36 state governors under the umbrella of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF ) dismissed the report on the allegation of inconvenience at the receipt of $100 million for the elections.

The Governors’ position was conveyed via a 3-page statement titled: “NGF Response to Ned Munir Nwoko’s Press Release dated 20e August 2022′, published by NGF’s Director of Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, made available to Online forum.

While frowning at the role allegedly played by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami in ensuring the payment of the $418 million to the consultants, the NGF spokesperson argued that the antics adopted by the consultants were because it is obvious that the consultants are not in a position to return the funds paid to them to the states if they lose on appeal.

“Unsurprisingly, the desperate, misleading and futile advocacy mounted and coordinated by the AGF on behalf of the so-called Paris Club Consultants to justify the looting of the colossal sum of $418.9 million from the State Treasury and local communities continued. on Saturday August 20, 2022, when Ned Nwoko, in a press release, attempted to blur and obscure the real facts and legal issues in the controversy by uncovering blatant lies and half-truths.

“The facts are and always will be: whether the consultants’ claims are legal and justified under our Constitution and whether any judgment pending appeal can be enforced or enforced as the consultants are now attempting to do? If both questions are answered in the negative, it does not matter whether the contracts giving rise to the claims were entered into by a public official, past or present.

“No person can agree to blatantly circumvent our Constitution and get away with it. The time period in which the judgments were obtained is also irrelevant in this case.

“Undoubtedly, the highlights of fraud associated with Paris Club refunds can never be changed by a thousand press releases from AGF or any of the consultants. As appellate court judgments, particularly that of the Supreme Court, have begun to expose the chilling and illegal nature of consultants’ claims; it is no surprise that they are now giddy, seriously uneasy and driven by desperation to ensure that the plunder and defrauding of the state is speedily completed before the pending proceedings are determined before the court of appeals and other courts in order to impose a situation of frustration and helplessness on the States.

“This is evident because the consultants are unable to return the funds to the states if they lose on appeal; as it becomes evident.

“Therefore, there is no point in joining the issues with NED NWOKO or even any of the consultants. However, it is imperative to debunk the blatant lies being circulated in order to disabuse the minds of the uninformed public.

“While Mr. Ned Nwoko has strenuously attempted to single out and substantiate his own bogus $68 million claim; the total amount that all consultants working in concert, collectively seek and claim from states and local governments, albeit illegally, is $418,953,690.59 broken down as follows: Ned Munir Nwoko ($68,658,192.83) ; Dr. Ted Isighohi Edwards ($159,000,000); Panic Alert Security Systems Ltd ($47,831,920); Riok Nig. Ltd ($142,028,941.95); Prince Orji Orizu ($1,219,440.45); Lawyer Olaitan Bello ($215,195.36); Total – US$418,953,690.59

“It is instructive to note that all of the consultants’ claims are rooted in Case No: FHC/ABJ/CS/130/13 between Linas International Ltd and 35 ORS against the Federal Government of Nigeria and 3ORS in which Ned Nwoko instituted and was awarded a bogus 20% of the sum of $3,188,078,505.96 of Paris Club reimbursements from the states and local governments.The judgment was appealed by the States and NGF in Case No. : CA/ABJ/PRE/ROEA/CV/327M1/2022: Attorney General of Abia State and 35 ORS v Linas International Ltd and 239 ORS.

“NED’s attempt to separate its own claim of $68 million as if it were unrelated to other consultants’ claims is half astute. All of the consultants claim to have rendered the same or similar service in assisting States and local governments to recover Paris Club reimbursements over-deducted by the federal government.

“So their cases go up or down together. A part poison is a poison at all. What is illegal remains illegal. Its origin is immaterial and the part or role played by all parties separately or collectively at any time is illegal and irremediable.

“As is common to all ungodly alliances, it seems the romance between the consultants and their determination to fight together under the tacit coordination of the AGF to withdraw the sum of US$418,953,690.59 from the United States may have suffered a crack, which must have led NED to go to the press alone and designate its undeserved $68 million claim as justifiable.

“This also follows a similar press briefing by the AGF a few days ago, in which it fiercely defended all the consultants and blamed the States for opposing or delaying the prompt payment of the sum. claimed. The AGF was thought to have done a good job of defending each of them, but NED’s decision to go solo to argue his own case without reference to the others suggests that the consultants’ union is gradually collapsing.

“What however NED has not told the public is: if all the local governments hired him directly as he claims and if he acted for the states through his lawyers and that the NGF has requested that he extend the services to all states as also claimed, what a difference service rendered by Ted Iseghohi-Edwards, his collaborator and conspirator (indicted by the EFCC) for which he is being paid the exorbitant sum of 159,000 $000 also from Paris Club reimbursement?

“In its desperation to substantiate its claim, NED peddled falsehoods that its team was a member of the federal government committee formed to reconcile Paris Club reimbursement figures to state and local governments. This is obviously false.

“The report of this committee dated May 2007 shows that only FMF, OAGF, CBN, DMO and RMFC (secretariat) were members. Private persons who were not private could not have been included in a committee supposed to examine purely public financial documents. It was this committee that did all the work now requested by NED and the other consultants.

“While it is possible that the illegal scheme hatched by the consultants to feast on public funds could, over the years, have been carried out with the cooperation of enemies of the state without anyone raising an eyebrow; the bubble has now burst and the hour of reckoning has come.

“It is ironic that NED and other consultants who display court judgments as justification for payment are now uncomfortable and nervous when the same judgments are tested on appeal. An appeal is not a circumvention of a judgment as NED might have the public believe. It is a constitutional right.

“The consultants have no choice but to pursue the various remedies. While NED has committed to fully implement the judgment in FHC/ABJ/CS/130/2013; can we remind him that the law does not allow the execution of a judgment on appeal. Let him reserve all his vituperations against the president of the NGF and appeal them as the law may permit.

“Naturally, the Supreme Court (SC) in its judgment of June 3, 2022 sent a clear signal in lawsuit no. that State and Local Government funds cannot be attached to the Federation account in the manner approved and pushed by the AGF.

“So let the consultants have their day in court with the NGF and after the win; they can ask to be paid. It is nonsense to pursue payment in the face of all pending cases. While the consultants are oddly emboldened by those who would normally oppose payment and protect the public trust; the law is not silent. He upholds the truth at all times, no matter how long it takes.

“No professional advocacy or media campaign to mislead the public can change the law. We do not forget the ridiculous claim by one of the consultants that it was his media campaign that influenced a judgment of the Federal High Court in favor of the NGF.

“Interestingly, the public, who are the greatest victims of the mismanagement of scarce public resources, have since been well informed and are on red alert to avoid and stop what is apparently an attempt by some rent seekers voracious people posing as consultants to further aggravate the economic woes of citizens in the prevailing dire economic situation.

“The use of defamatory language on the person of the chairman of NGF, who refused to be compromised and strongly defended his position on the unconstitutional and illegal nature of the consultants’ claims, is also not helpful to their case. The NGF is an apolitical organization that operates under defined principles aimed at good governance.

“His role in this whole debacle of Paris Club reimbursement to consultants is to ensure that Nigerian citizens are not unlawfully deprived of resources intended for their development. NGF will therefore not waste its valuable time defending unsubstantiated claims against individuals or persons who are able to defend themselves.

“If NED is sure of its facts, it is free to apply to the necessary authorities to bring to justice any person or persons and all conspirators (including itself) who may have been involved in the misappropriation of public resources for the campaign financing.

“The NGF hereby unequivocally declares that it has at no time been involved with or received US$100 million or any other funds from NED Nwoko to fund elections in any state.

“Perhaps confirmation of our and the public’s fears that the AGF has abdicated its role as public defender and administrator and become the consultants’ most vocal advocate is now evident in the NED press release. NWOKO in which he praised the role played by describing AGF as inevitable.

“NED cannot say that the consultants do not have an official platform to make their case, while the AGF has, despite public protests, provided the strongest and most vocal platform to campaign. for the prompt payment of the sums claimed. The AGF issued and issued more than half a dozen press releases justifying why the consultants should be paid immediately. Even NED’s lawyers couldn’t have done better,” noted Bello-Barkindo.