Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, stated on Thursday, August 11, that state governors had no right to complain about deductions from the Paris Club return given to consultants they hired.
The AGF claimed that the commotion caused by the governors forum was not only unwarranted but also an obvious instance of no defense.
The minister reminded the governors that they established the liability whose payment they have also indemnified when he spoke at the Ministerial Media Briefing hosted by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
In tesponse to a question about why, despite a presidential directive to do so, he has decided against enforcing the directive because it appears that some deductions have already been made, he stated that one of the components of the Nigeria Governors Forum’s (NGF) request for the refund was the payment of the consultants the forum had hired.
Malami recalled that portion of the reimbursement that the governors had initially given to the states also went to the consultants.
He said that the governors ultimately made the decision to stop paying while requesting a settlement outside of court.
The Minister said this resulted to request to the President to make the payment, a request he said, was then passed on to the Office of the AGF for legal opinion.
Malami noted that after being subjected to necessary checks, it was found out that there was no element of fraud involved.
According to him, the indemnity of the governors was also sought and received.
He said, “On the issue of Paris club that is raised. You mentioned that there exists a presidential directives that payments should not be made and then in breach of that position directives payments were perhaps maybe arising from the conspiracy between the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice payments have been made.
“I think you need to be informed first, as to the antecedents, prevailing circumstances and how the liability arose but one thing I’m happy to state, which I want to reiterate having stated same earlier, is the fact that the Office of the Attorney General and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has not indeed incurred any major judgment debt for the period of seven years it has been on.
“Now, coming to the antecedents background of the Paris Club. The liability or judgement debts related to pirates Club was indeed a liability created by the governor’s forum in their own right.”