THE House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions has summoned the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC; Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, and others over alleged diversion of $86 million legal fees due to the legal firm that facilitated the recovery of $3.189 billion Paris and London Club funds.
It is gathered that in a bid to get to the root of how $86,546,526.65, which represents 10 percent of deductions of loans made by the Paris Club for 774 local governments in Nigeria was paid into the account of Governors Forum, the committee invited all stakeholders in the matter. House of Representatives
Others invited include Department of State Services, DSS; Central Bank of Nigeria,CBN, and all other stakeholders connected to the development.
They are to appear before the committee today.
Recall that the legal firm, Edwards and Partners, had petitioned the House of Representatives, threatening to freeze accounts of the Federal Government in the US and United Kingdom, if the legal fee was not paid for services that facilitated the payment of the $3.189 billion.
We further gathered that the crux of the matter took another dimension when the Minister of Finance in a letter dated November 21, 2016, directed the CBN governor to pay the Nigerian Governors Forum the sum of $86,546,526.65 relating to consultants fees.
Findings, however, revealed that this did not go down well with Edwards and Partners who had earlier gone to court vide a judgment with ref: FHC/ABJ/CS//130/13 where it was ordered that they be paid their legal fees.
The minister also directed within this period that the Governors Forum be paid in its first tranche the sum of N153,015,930,045.35 out of the recovered over deductions facilitated by the lawyers.
The lawyers had insisted in the petition addressed to the speaker, Yakubu Dogara, that they needed be paid first on first line basis, based on the judgment not any other entity.