Judge SB Belgore of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory ordered the freezing of a bank account linked to a Paris Club consultant, Panic Alert Security System Limited, for an alleged breach of contract.
A lawyer, Ikechukwu Ezechukwu (SAN) had on trial no FCT/HC/CV/2615/22 urged the court to freeze the United Bank of Africa domiciled bank account linked to the company pending the court hearing and decision. motion on notice filed in suit.
The lawyer had accused Panic Alert Security System, owned by George Uboh, of failing to pay him his attorney fees despite receiving N4,074,014,452.09 as a judgment debt related to the Paris Club reimbursement of the Nigerian government.
He begs, “An order from the Honorable Court of MAREVA injunction seizing all the money constituting the value of three discounted promissory notes and equivalent to N4,074,014,452.09 (four billion, seventy-four million, fourteen thousand, four hundred fifty-two Naira, Nine Kobo) which is the subject of this lawsuit which may be in the accounts of the 1st defendant, maintained in UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA PLC (UBA) Account number 1015850558 and no. 1010440561 whose sums have been filed on the 28th day of June 2022 and 7th July 2022 or in any other bank operating in Nigeria by any name called and that the defendant may have moved the money for the purpose of dissipating or concealing certain and any other account in Nigeria Banks and that said accounts are linked to bank verification number (BVN) 22240720902. Said sum is the total value of three promissory notes discounted by the 1st defendant (the discounted rate has not been deducted).
In a judgment delivered on Tuesday August 9, Judge Belgore granted a series of orders including the freezing of a bank account belonging to a certain Maryam Olusola Akanmode.
According to the judgment, the company transferred on July 13, 2022 the money it received from the federation account to the Akanmode account.
“A MAREVA Order from this Honorable Court IMMEDIATELY fixing ALL funds in account number: 1025340285 domiciled at 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 July 13 2022 Pending the hearing and decision on the motion, notice is granted,” the judge said.
SaharaReporters reported earlier that millions of the $478 million in debt related to the Paris Club repayment had been handed over to certain 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, ordered Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed to suspend plans to start the deduction of the Club’s reimbursement from Paris of $418 million allegedly owed to 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, at some of the consultants.
This was also confirmed by a top source familiar with the illegal payment.
“The Paris Club reimbursements are being paid without Buhari’s knowledge,” a source told SaharaReporters on Wednesday.
“Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed and AGF (Attorney General of the Federation) Malami and others have actually started paying these men since last year using heavily discounted promissory notes.”
In 2006, the Nigerian government paid $12 billion to obtain debt cancellation of $18 billion from the Paris Club of international creditors.
However, as the payment was made directly from the revenue accruing to the entire federation, the states and LGAs that did not owe the Paris Club sought reimbursement from the Nigerian government.
Some consultants have surfaced along the line to claim a percentage of reimbursements as payment for their services from states and councils.
Some contractors have also claimed that they have been invited to carry out 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 reimbursement, when projects that would have been awarded by ALGON turned out to be mostly non-existent.
The governors had requested a forensic audit. While the contractors and consultants were on their way to court, the Federation Attorney General curiously went to negotiate a settlement with them and agreed to pay $418 million in judgment debt.
SaharaReporters recently reported how Malami asked Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele to release the fund to Linas International Ltd, a company owned by former House of Representatives Prince Ned Nwoko and other consultants on reimbursement from the Paris Club.
He claimed to be unaware of various court cases regarding the payment and asked the CBN to release the money. According to the Chief Legal Officer, Nigeria should not be seen dishonoring financial instruments issued in its full faith.
After secretly paying millions of dollars to consultants on June 28 and July 7, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed and Malami at the August 3 FEC meeting tabled a memo asking the cabinet to approve the restart withdrawals of funds due to the States from the account of the federation.
“Unbeknownst to the president and other cabinet members, Malami and Ahmed have already started paying the contractors. They only came to the meeting to confirm the illegal payment made so far.
“On June 28 and July 07, more than four billion naira were released from the federation account to UBA account numbers 1015850558 and 1010440561 belonging to Panic Alert Security System, one of the Paris Club consultants,” said a source told SaharaReporters.