Paris Club fraud: Tension as EFCC probes Delta, Bauchi, C’River, Nasarawa

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission opened a fresh probe into how the Paris Club loan refund was spent in Bauchi, Delta, Cross River and Nasarawa states.

The Federal Government had in January released N522bn to the 36 states of the federation after the state governments had submitted their claims of over-deductions for external debt service arising between 1995 and 2002 to the Federal Government due to the First Line Charge deductions from Federation Account Allocation Committee allocations.

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum was said to have taken about five per cent of the total money under the pretext that it was being used to pay some financial consultants.

However, the EFCC discovered that after the monies were finally paid into the accounts of the states, some governors allegedly made fresh deductions again under the pretext that they had to pay more consultants at the state level.

A detective at the EFCC said, “After paying consultants from the NGF account, the states shared the money among themselves. Rather than use these monies in paying salaries and pensions, some of the governors diverted funds by paying more consultants at the state level. So, we are investigating Bauchi, Delta, Nasarawa and Cross River states.”

The commission has also arrested a consultant with Mountain Crest Investment Limited for allegedly receiving $3m from the NGF.

The source told our correspondent that the commission had applied for the forfeiture of N1.2bn which had been frozen in the account of another consultant, Melrose General Services Limited, which received payment from the NGF.

The source added, “When the Federal Government released N522bn as the first tranche of the Paris Club loan refund, the governors under the aegis of the NGF, paid monies into the accounts of about four consultants.

“Melrose General Services received N3.5bn. We were able to recover N220m while another N1.2bn found in one of the accounts has been frozen. We have applied to the courts for an interim forfeiture order.

“The NGF also paid $3m into the account of Mountain Crest. Mountain Crest also transferred $1m to the account of Gosh Project Limited. We arrested the head of the company and he was not even able to explain the services he rendered. We strongly believe that he was a front for one of the governors.”

The EFCC source told our correspondent that $.5m had been recovered from Gosh Projects while N100m which was invested in treasury bills will also be recovered from the company.Punch


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