Tuesday, January 18

Court declines to vacate order stopping FG from deducting state govts’ funds over $418 million Paris Club debt

An Abuja division of the federal high court has declined to vacate an order restraining the federal government from deducting funds from the 36 states in Nigeria to settle $418 million judgement debt relating to the Paris Club.

The presiding judge, Justice Iyang Ekwo held that all pending applications would be taken on the next adjourned date which will be December 13, 2021.

The order was earlier made by the court restraining the federal government through their agencies from deducting the plaintiff’s monies pending the determination of the motion on notice, according to NAN.

What happened in court

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Jibrin Okutekpa, counsel to the 36 states (plaintiffs) told the court that he had two motions to move.

He said all the defendants had responded to various applications they were served except Dr Chris Asoluka who is the 9th defendant, who transacts business under the NIPAL consulting Network.

He said Mr Asoluka has refused to receive the court processes they served.

“We have a motion ex-parte to serve the 9th defendant an originating process dated December 6. praying for an order of substitutes service on the 9th defendant,” Mr Okutekpa said.

Justice Ekwo granted Okutekpa’s prayer and ordered that the 9th defendant be served within three days by pasting the notice on his address.

Oyin Koleoso, counsel to the first, second, fourth and sixth defendants told the court that he had filed a motion asking the court to vacate its order of November 5.

Wole Olanipekun, SAN, counsel for the 14th defendant (Dr Ted Iseghohi-Edwards), also prayed the court to set aside the order.

He said the plea is being made based on the Supreme Court and Appeal Court decisions under which the judge took the application.

Chief Olusola Oke, SAN, counsel for the 12th and 13th defendants (Riok Nigeria Ltd and Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu), also prayed the court to vacate the same order. He told the court that his clients were affected by the order.

Justice Ekwo who declined to vacate the order noted that the restraining order was made subject to the motion on notice filed by the 36 states (the plaintiffs).

What you should know

  • The 36 states attorney-generals are the plaintiff in the suit. The suit is instituted against 43 defendants.
  • The defendants include the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Accountant-General of the Federation, the ministry of finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Debt Management Office, federation allocation committee, incorporated trustees of the association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) among others.
  • The federal government paid $12 billion in 2006 to get an $18 billion debt write-off by the Paris Club of international creditors.

In case you missed it

Nairametrics reported earlier that the court stopped the Federal Government from a $418 million Paris club refund from states.

Nairametrics also reported that the Federal Government reached an agreement with the state governments to suspend the deductions of the $418 million.