Paris Club Refund: Court freezes Abia, C’River, Delta bank accounts

Three states – Abia, Cross River and Delta – have run into a hitch in the Paris Club Loan refund programme.

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court has ordered the freezing of the Paris-London Club Refund bank accounts of Abia, Cross River and Delta states.

Justic Yusuf Halilu issued the order on August 3, on the strength of an affidavit in support of an ex-parte originating summons sworn to by Dr. Maurice Ibe, the Chairman and Managing Director of Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd, and filed before the court by his counsel, Alex Marama, Charles Ude, and Kenneth N. Esq.

The suit was as a result of the debt owed by the three states, which had engaged a consultancy firm to pursue the refund of excess deductions on foreign loans and miscellaneous charges in exchange of certain percent of any fund recovered.

The Court also ordered the banks to set up an escrow account where the funds in the respective bank accounts will be deposited pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

In the affidavit, Ibe averred that there is an urgent need for the court to direct the third defendants (United Bank for Africa Plc and Zenith Bank Nig. Plc) in the case between Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd and the three state governments to, in the interim, stop further disbursement of the money already in or accruing to the Paris-London Club Refund accounts of the three states.

Abia state government allegedly owes Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd the sum of $11,325,000 and N1.72billion; Cross River state government allegedly owes the sum of $8,050,000 and N1.2billion, while Delta state government allegedly owes $27,274,135 and N3billion.

Abia state government had reportedly engaged Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd on the 3rd of November, 2014 to pursue the refund of excess deductions on foreign loans and miscellaneous charges in exchange of 30 percent of any fund recovered. Similarly, Cross River government reportedly engaged the same consultancy firm on the same date for the same purpose in exchange of 20 percent of any fund recovered while Delta state government also reportedly engaged the services of Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd in exchange for 30 percent of any fund recovered. Justice Halilu adjourned the suit to September 7, 2017 for hearing.

– Vanguard

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