Paris Club refund: Three more governors indicted

Three more governors are believed to have diverted the London-Paris Club refund,  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) sources said yesterday

According to a source, who gave an update on the investigation of the refund, all suspects will be brought to book.

The source said: “As part of the ongoing probe, we have traced diversion of funds to three more governors and their cronies. This is apart from two governors who have  been fingered in such deals.

“Detectives have also uncovered another account opened by the Nigeria Governors Forum(NGF) where suspicious transactions related to the London-Paris Club refund have been found.

‘We have rated this new discovery as a slush account. This is aside the two accounts on which we placed Post No Debit(PNB).”

According to the source, “more consultants have confessed  that they were paid for jobs not done.

“So, we have cases of diversion of public funds into private accounts under the guise of consultancy fees. This explains why salaries have not been paid in some states”, the source added.

He went on: “We will release the details to the public very soon. All the suspects will certainly face trial. Those who have immunity will face the consequences, no matter how long it takes.

“Already, one of the governors has forfeited N500million and another crony of the second governor has refunded $500,000 out of $3million linked to his account.

“We have also applied for the forfeiture of over N1.823billion by some consultants hired by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).”

Following protests by states against over deductions for external debt service between 1995 and 2002, President Buhari had approved the release of N522.74 billion (first tranche) to states as refunds pending reconciliation of records.

Each state was entitled to a cap of N14.5 billion being 25% of the amounts claimed.

The second tranche of N243, 795,465,195.20 was also disbursed to states in July.

Minister of Finance Mrs. Kemi Adeosun said the payment of the claims would enable states to offset outstanding salaries and pension which had been “causing considerable hardship”.

The governors had sought for the refund to states and local governments at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on May 24, 2016.

The Finance ministry said it was reviewing the impact of these releases on the level of arrears owed by the various states.

“The releases were conditional upon a minimum of 75 per cent being applied to the payment of workers’ salaries and pensions for states that owe salaries and pension,” Salisu Dambatta, a Finance ministry spokesperson said in the statement.

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