Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has become the latest public official to be fingered in the ongoing grand financial fraud of $418 million (about N159 billion at the current official exchange rate of $1 to N380) judgment debts around the Paris Club Refund which is unfolding before Nigerians.
The six individuals and entities who served as contractors to some states and local governments to secure their Paris Club Refund and who are demanding over $418 million judgment debts from the government have alleged that Fayemi demanded 10 percent of the sum as a kickback.
Already, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, are at the centre of the scandal, having forced the Central Bank of Nigeria to pay $350 million (about N133 billion) as part of the judgment debts – much of which was shared between them and the contractors.
SaharaReporters had exposed on Wednesday how the AGF and Gambari’s move to have the money paid was contrary to the NGF’s stance that the judgment debts should first be subjected to a probe – a request which President Buhari had acceded to.
The judgment debts are concerning the payments of a total $418 million, said to be owed six individuals and entities who purportedly offered services to states and their local governments on the payment of Paris Club debts.
Top sources, however, on Friday revealed to SaharaReporters that Governor Fayemi acting through proxies reached out to the contractors and demanded 10% of the judgment debts – a move they resisted and claimed might have necessitated the NGF Chairman’s stance against the payment of the debts.
The six individuals and entities which served as the Paris Club contractors include a former member of the House of Representatives, politician and lawyer, Ned Nwoko, who is laying claim to $142,028,941 (about N54 billion) via a consent judgment he obtained from the Federal High Court in Abuja in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/148/2017.
Others are Riok Nigeria Ltd, Orji Nwafor Orizu, and Olaitan Bello. From the total money, Riok Nigeria Limited has a share of $142,028,941.95 (about N54 billion), Mr Nwafor is entitled to $1,219,440.45 (about N464 million), and Mr Bello has a share of $215,159.36 (N81.7 million).
One of the six contractors told SaharaReporters that Governor Fayemi first sent a civil servant to them to meet at an office in Aso Drive, Abuja, and that when they refused to bulge, he summoned four of them to several meetings to agree to a sum.
The source stated, “Fayemi demanded 10 percent of Paris Club Refund from contractors. He sent proxies to ask for 10 percent of the entire sums from four of the contractors.
“The governor first sent a civil servant to meet them at an office in Aso Drive and when they refused to bulge, he summoned them to a meeting at his (Fayemi’s) Guzape house on Sunday, February 7, 2021, to discuss how to collect his cut, which would have amounted to $41. 8 million (N51.9 billion).”
The source stated that Prince Nwoko, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu (Riok Nigeria Limited), Dr Ted Iseghohi Edwards and Dr George Uboh were at the meeting Fayemi secretly called.
“The governor still sent a civil servant a few days ago to put pressure on the contractors. But the contractors are insisting that since they did not involve in corruption and that their transactions are legitimate, they would not accede to pay bribe to the serving governor.
“The contractors said the judgment debts were still being processed and would be paid soon as President Muhammadu Buhari has already approved,” the source revealed further.
SaharaReporters had on Wednesday reported that Malami and the Chief of Staff, Gambari already forced the Central Bank of Nigeria to pay $350 million (about N133 billion) from the judgment debts.
It had been gathered that Malami and Gambari forced the CBN to cough up the initial $350 million from the sum, which was secretly shared between the entities, including Nwoko.
“Malami, New Nwoko and Gambari already got the money. The first one was also shared between (former Zamfara Governor Abdulaziz) Yari, who was also former NGF Chairman, and Ned Nwoko. They said the CBN Governor did not approve cash and settled for promissory notes because for the last $350 million, the CBN Governor was not paid his entitlement.
“So, these people had collected and shared an initial $350 million. It was that money Nwoko shared to ex-NGF Chairman, Yari. But his share was frozen by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission till date.
“Nwoko then bought a jet at first and when the jet had an accident, he bought a second one and married that little girl (Regina Daniel). With the rest of the money, he purchased high rise estates in Abuja and then was broke for a while,” a top source had explained to SaharaReporters.
According to Premium Times, Fayemi had therefore, written to Gambari on March 8, 2021, stating that the NGF had noticed “that there are attempts to proceed with defraying the purported debts to some consultants who claim to have executed various services to the states in respect of the London Paris Club refunds.”
“Notable among these so-called judgment creditors are Prince Ned Nwoko (Ned Nwoko Solicitors), Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu (Riok Nigeria Limited), Dr Ted Iseghohi Edwards and Dr George Uboh (Panic Alert Security Systems PASS),” the Ekiti governor had added.