Paris Club Refund: States fail to stop deduction of $480m judgment debt, as court dismisses suit
A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, dismissed the suit by the 36 states of the federation, challenging the federal government over plan to deduct $480m from allocation to states in payment to consultants over Paris Club refund.
The states failed to stop the federal government to deduct from their funds in the federation accounts to pay debt owed the consultants.
Justice Inyang Ekwo dismissed the suit filed on behalf of the states by their various Attorneys-General for lacking in merit.
Justice Ekwo dismissed the suit filed by the states on the grounds that the plaintiffs lacked the legal powers to institute the action.
The Attorney General of Abia State and its counterparts of the 35 states had approached the court to stop the federal government from going ahead with the planned deductions of their funds at the federation accounts to pay six consultants that helped the states recover excess deductions in payment of the Paris and London Club loans.
President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the deduction of the sum of $480 million being judgment debt entered against the 36 states over their failure to pay contractors that helped them recovered excess deductions in the Paris Club refund.
Amongst the reasons adduced by the AGs was that they never authorized any payments and that the said contracts were suspected as fraud hence the need for the court to stop the planned deductions.
However, delivering judgment on Friday, Justice Ekwo held that the plaintiffs who are political appointees of their various states governor lacked the powers to initiate the suit without the consent of the governors.
The court aslo dismissed the suit as an abuse of court process because according to the judge, the plaintiffs by the suit are seeking to get the court to review the judgment of $480 million entered against the 36 states.
Ekwo explained that what the plaintiffs should have done was to have filed a suit to set aside the judgment debt.
He subsequently dismissed the suit for lacking merit.