Justice Yusuf Halilu of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court has issued an ex-parte order directing that the Paris-London Club Refund bank accounts of Abia, Cross River, and Delta states be frozen.
The accounts to be frozen are listed as follows: Abia state Paris and London Club Debit Refund, 1019892950, UBA Bank Plc; CRS Paris and London Club Debit Refund, 101989719, UBA Bank Plc; and DTSG CRS Paris and London Club Debit Refund, 1012906702, Zenith Bank Plc respectively.
The court gave the order amidst allegations that the governors of the three states preferred payment to family members, friends, and cronies in the guise of settling the fees for consultancy services at the expense of the real consultant progenitor of the Paris-London Club Refund.
Abia state government reportedly owes the real consultant progenitor the sum of $11,325,000 and N1.72bn; Cross River state government owes the sum of $8,050,000 and N1.2bn; While, Delta state government owes $27,274,135 and N3bn.
According to documents, the court order was sequel to an affidavit in support of 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
Ibe averred that there is an urgent need for the court to direct the third defendants (United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc and Zenith Bank Nig. Plc) in the suits CV/2470/17, CV/2536/17, CV/2469/17 and motions M/8777/17, M8780/17, M/8784/17 to, in the interim, stop further disbursement of the money already in or accruing to the respective Paris-London Club Refund accounts domiciled with them which belong to the three states respectively.
The Court also ordered the banks to set up an escrow account where the said funds will be deposited pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.
Abia state government led by Theophilus Orji had 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 engaged the same consultancy firm on the same date for the same purpose in exchange of 20 percent of any fund recovered.
Delta state government under governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan also engaged the services of Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd in exchange of 30 percent of any fund recovered.
Justice Halilu, while granting the order freezing the accounts, adjourned the suit to 7th September, 2017 for hearing.