Sue States That Mismanaged N388.304bn Paris Club Loan Refunds, SERAP Advises FG

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami

By Ogbolu George

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has urged the Accountant- General of the Federation to pass information relating to the release of N388.304 billion London Paris Club loan to the Attorney General of the Federation so steps can be taken to initiate legal action against states that allegedly diverted and mismanaged the funds.

This was made known in an open letter dated 17 Feb. 2017, and signed by, Adetokunbo Mumuni the executive director of SERAP.

”SERAP strongly believes that passing on information on the spending by states of N388.304 billion London Paris Club loan refunds to Mr Malami and bringing a case against the states that have allegedly diverted and mismanaged funds meant for payment of salaries and pension is rational, and would be a powerful tool to deter corruption in the states of the federation.

”Pursuing such action will also send a strong message that President Muhammadu Buhari would not tolerate corruption in the disbursement of funds by his government no matter who is involved. Such legal action will be deemed incidental to the power of the federal government to achieve effective implementation of anti-corruption legislation such as the ICPC Act, which is applicable in all states of the federation, and will not amount to interference with activities within the states involved.”

”The Accountant General of the Federation ought to be decisive in this matter and pass on the information on the release and spending of the funds, especially given the fact that the current economic problem and recession is largely attributable to widespread corruption and abuse of power, and that foreign countries generally regard and treat Nigerians as corrupt people,” the letter read.

The group said if legal proceedings are not carried out by the Federal Government, it would limit the scope of the anti-corruption agenda of the FG and encourage impunity for alleged corruption and mismanagement with the states.

”According to SERAP’s information, the Federal Government released N388.304billion of the N522.74 billion to 35 states as refunds of over-deductions on London-Paris Club loans. The amounts received by the states are as follows: Akwa Ibom N14.5bn; Bayelsa N14.5bn; Delta N14.5bn; Kaduna N14.3bn; Katsina N14,5bn; Lagos N14.5bn; Rivers N14.5bn; Borno N13,654138,849.49; Imo 13bn; Jigawa 13.2bn; Niger N13.4bn; Bauchi N12.7bn and Benue N12.7bn.”

“Other states Anambra N11.3bn; Cross River N11.3bn8; Edo N11.3bn; Kebbi N11bn; Kogi N11.2bn; Osun N11.7bn; Sokoto N11.9bn; Abia N10.6bn; Ogun N10.6bn; Plateau N10.4bn; Yobe N10bn; and Zamfara N10bn. Other states are: Adamawa N4.8bn; Ebonyi N3.3bn; Ekiti N8.8bn; Enugu N9.9bn; Gombe N8.3bn; Kwara N5.4bn; Nasarawa N8.4bn; Ondo N6.5bn; Oyo N7.2bn and Taraba N4.2bn,” the group added.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), recently uncovered evidence of funds believed to be part of the Paris Club refund diverted into two bank accounts opened by the Nigeria Governors Forum. The sum of N19 billion was allegedly found in one of the two accounts.

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