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Governors tackle Malami over $418m Paris Club refund

The Nigerian Governors’ Forum says Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), is acting based on selfish interest regarding the controversial $418 million Paris Club refund.

On Thursday, Malami said the NGF has no basis to reject the proposed deduction of $418 million, adding that the consultants’ claims are justified.

In a communique issued after a meeting on Wednesday, the governors said all the claims made by the AGF were lies and that his actions are fraudulent.

Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti state governor and NGF chairman, said the governors are determined to pursue the matter “to the highest court in the land”.

The communique reads: “Governors extensively reviewed the purported attempts by the attorney-general of the federation and the minister of finance, to circumvent the law and a recent judgment of the supreme court to secure the approval of the federal legislative council to effect illegal payment of a sum of $418 million to contractors who allegedly executed consultancy in respect to the Paris Club refund, to state and local governments.

“The forum set up a committee comprising the chairman, the governor of Ekiti state, the vice chairman, the governor of Ondo State, the governor of  Plateau, the governor of Nasarawa state, and the governor of Ebonyi State to interface with the committee set up by Mr. President to review the matter.

“But the position of the Governors’ Forum is clear and unequivocal. Although this matter is subjudice and we are very reluctant to get in the way of a matter that is still being pursued in the court. We’re constrained by the manner in which the honorable attorney has been going around various media houses and purporting to create the impression that this is a liability to which governors had committed themselves to and agreed to, even though he is very much aware that that’s not the case.

“And we reject all of the claims that he has made on this issue. And we also insist that state will not give up on insisting that these purported claims are fraudulent and will not stand as far as governors are concerned and we would take every constitutional and legal means to ensure that these purported consultancy are fully litigated upon by the highest court in the land.

“If the courts now fine governors, and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and state liable, then we will cross that bridge when get there.”

The governors added that the attorney-general’s interest in the issue “will ultimately become clear when this matter is fully addressed, in the law court”.

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