Firms seek Court’s nod to get Paris Funds refunds commission from Rivers State

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja has been urged to among others, order the Government of Rivers State to settle a debt of over N25billion allegedly owed to a firm – J. O. Atunbi and Associates – in relation to the Paris Club loans’ refund.

The request formed part of the reliefs in a suit, marked: FCT/HC/CV/374/2021, filed by .O. Atunbi trading under the name and style of J. O. Atunbi and Associates and Mauritz Walton Nigeria Limited.

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The Rivers State Government and the state’s Attorney General are defendants in the case.

The claimants alleged that the debt arose from the alleged failure of the Rivers State Govt to pay the agreed 18 per-cent of the sum of N143 billion, as consultancy fees for its role in the federal government’s refund of excess deductions in the Paris Club loans.

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The firms claimed to have been engaged by the Rivers State Govt sometime in March 2014, “as consultants for the purpose of forensic analysis and reconciliation of the deductions and consequential recovery of the excess debits/deductions which appeared to have been made against the first defendant by the federal government.”

They stated that part of the terms of their engagement was that the Rivers State Govt agreed to pay them “18 percent of all monies recovered/paid from/by the Federal Government upon reconciliation and agreement on the exact excess debits.”

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The claimants said, based on the agreement, they intensified their engagement with the Federal Government, during which they discovered that the Rivers State Government had, between June 1995 and March 2002, suffered excess deductions regarding its external loans/debt repayment in the total sum of $462,593,183:07, which refund they demanded on behalf of the Rivers government from the Federal Government.

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