Nigerian Court Freezes Bank Account Linked To Paris Club Consultant After Secret Payment Of N4Billion Approved By Attorney-General Malami, Finance Minister, Ahmed

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Justice Belgore granted a series of orders including freezing a bank account belonging to one Maryam Olusola Akanmode.

Justice SB Belgore of the Federal Capital Territory High Court has ordered the freezing of a bank account linked to a Paris Club consultant, Panic Alert Security System Limited, over an alleged breach of contract.

A lawyer, Ikechukwu Ezechukwu (SAN) had in suit no FCT/HC/CV/2615/22 urged the court to freeze the bank account domiciled in United Bank of Africa linked to the company pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed in the suit.

The lawyer had accused Panic Alert Security System owned by George Uboh of failing to pay him his legal fee despite receiving N4,074,014,452.09 as Paris Club refund-related judgment debt from the Nigerian government.

He prays, “An order of the Honorable Court for MAREVA injunction attaching all the money constituting the value of three promissory notes as discounted and equivalent of N4,074,014,452.09 (Four Billion, Seventy-Four Million, Fourteen Thousand, Four Hundred and Fifty-Two Naira, Nine Kobo) which is the subject matter of this suit that may be in the accounts of the 1st Defendant, maintained in UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA PLC (UBA) Account Number 1015850558 and No. 1010440561 which sums were deposited on the 28th day of June 2022 and 7th day of July, 2022 or in any other bank operating in Nigeria by whatever named called and which the Defendant may have moved the money in an effort to dissipate or hide some and any other account in Nigeria Banks and which said accounts are linked to the Bank Verification Number (BVN) 22240720902. The said sum is full value for three promissory notes discounted by the 1st Defendant (the discounted rate hasn’t been deducted).”

In a judgement delivered on Tuesday, August 9, Justice Belgore granted a series of orders including freezing a bank account belonging to one Maryam Olusola Akanmode.

According to the judgement, the firm on July 13, 2022, transferred the money it received from the federation account to Akanmode’s account.

“A MAREVA Order of this Honorable Court attaching FORTHWITH ALL the monies in Account Number: 1025340285 domiciled in the United Bank for Africa Plc and held in the name of Maryam Olusola Akanmode, transferred from Account Number 1010440561 belonging to Panic Alert Security Systems Limited on the 13th day of July, 2022 Pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice is hereby granted,” the Judge ruled.

SaharaReporters earlier reported that millions of dollars out of the $478 million in the Paris Club refund-related judgment debts were released to some creditors including Panic Alert Security System without the consent of President Muhammadu Buhari.

While President Buhari on August 3, 2022, during the Federal Executive Council meeting, as reported By PREMIUM TIMES, directed the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, to suspend plans to begin the deduction of the $418 million Paris Club refund allegedly owed the contractors from the federation account, documents seen by SaharaReporters showed that millions of dollars were released from the federation account on June 28, 2022, and July 7, 2022, to some of the consultants.

This was also confirmed by a top source privy to the illegal payment.

“The Paris Club refunds are being paid without Buhari’s knowledge,” a source told SaharaReporters on Wednesday.

“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.”

In 2006, the Nigerian government paid $12 billion to get an $18 billion debt write-off by the Paris Club of international creditors.

However, because the payment was made directly from the revenue accruing to the entire federation, states and LGAs that did not owe the Paris Club asked the Nigerian government for a refund.

Some consultants surfaced along the line to claim a percentage of the refunds as payment for their services to the states and councils.

Some contractors also claimed they were asked to execute projects across the country by the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON).

Questions were asked about why states would need consultants to negotiate with the federal government over the refund, while the projects said to have been awarded by ALGON turned out to be mostly non-existent.

The governors had asked for a forensic audit. While the contractors and consultants went to court, the Attorney-General of the Federation curiously went to negotiate an out-of-court settlement with them and agreed to pay $418 million as judgment debt.

SaharaReporters recently reported how Malami asked the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele to release the fund to Linas International Ltd, a company belonging to Prince Ned Nwoko, a former House of Representatives member and other consultants over the Paris Club refund.

He claimed ignorance of various court cases on the payment and asked the CBN to release the money. According to the chief law officer, Nigeria shouldn’t be seen dishonouring financial instruments issued in her full faith.

After secretly paying millions of dollars to the consultants on June 28 and July 7, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and Malami during August 3 FEC meeting tabled a memo asking the cabinet to approve the restart of the deductions from funds due to states from the federation account.

“Unknown to the President and other cabinet members, Malami and Ahmed have started payment to the contractors already. They only came to the meeting to back up the illegal payment made so far.

“On June 28 and July 07, over four billion naira was released from the federation account to UBA account numbers 1015850558 and 1010440561 belonging to Panic Alert Security System, one of the Paris Club consultants,” a source told SaharaReporters