* London court to attach Nigerian property

Trouble seems to be brewing over the release of the second tranche of about N645.5 billion Paris Club Fund to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) over the alleged nonpayment of consultants engaged by the Forum to facilitate the release of the said funds.

It was, however, gathered that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has waded into the matter and had seized some properties and part of the money alleged to have been misappropriated. Arising from the nonpayment, it was further gathered that one of the foreign consultants had approached a London court seeking to attach a Nigerian property.

Meanwhile, one of the consultants engaged by the Forum, an Abuja-based law firm, KACCL, has filed a pre-action notice over refusal of the forum to pay its consultancy fee. The said letter of demand and pre-action notice, dated December 14, 2018 and addressed to the Director General of NGF, was signed by one Rapheal Oyewole, a lawyer in the said law firm.

In the letter, titled “Re- Request for payment of our consultancy fee from the second and last tranche payment of the Paris Club refund,” which also served as pre-action notice, the law firm threatened to take a legal action against the forum if the said fee is not paid. To be joined as defendants in the proposed legal action are the Attorney General of the Federation, Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria, EFCC and a foreign consultant partner, Mr. Yer Lawrence and United Global Resolve for Peace. Trouble arose when NGF said that it would not pay the consultant fee for the second tranche of the money recently paid.

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by New Telegraph in Abuja, reads in part: “Please further recall that we were engaged as a consultant to the Forum and the role played by us in recovering the total sum paid to the Forum as a refund was largely strategic and behind the scene. All in all, we ensured that the interest of all the member states was protected and all necessary entitlement paid. “It is crystal clear that the agreement reached on 6th June, 2018 was for the payment of our consultancy fee on the first tranche of the Paris Club Refund already paid and ascertainable. Howbeit, it is unreasonable for us as a consultant to demand and/ or request for payment on an uncompleted transaction or futuristic recoveries.

Hence, the payment made to us was only for the first tranche of the Paris Club Refund recovered through collective efforts of the appointed consultants, one of which we are.” The law firm, however, demanded the payment of its consultancy fee for the second and last tranche of the Paris Club Refund totalling N645.5 billion which was recently paid to the member states of the NGF. It equally notified the forum, that should it fail to pay the said sum within 30 days of receipt of the letter, it shall be constrained to seek redress before a court of law in recovering its fees without further recourse to the Forum.

The law firm further stated that it is joining the AGF and Ministry of Finance in the proposed suit considering the supervisory role they played in the disbursement of the fund.

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