File photo: Federation Attorney General Abubakar Malami made an appearance on Channels Television on June 30, 2020.

The Federation’s Attorney General’s Office said it followed due process in its plan to deduct $ 418 million from the 36-state bank account of the Federation.

The deduction is intended to pay consultants who have claimed a percentage of Paris Club reimbursements in payment for services they claimed to have rendered to states and local communities.

The AGF was responding to a Friday Federal High Court judgment that barred the federal government from making the deductions until all questions relating to that matter were fully resolved.

In a statement signed by OAGF spokesperson Umar Gwandu on Friday, AGF suggested that states and local governments acted in bad faith for bringing the case to court.

READ ALSO: Court prevents FG from deducting $ 418 million from states account

The deductions have been ratified by several court rulings, AGF said, and the federal government only had to step in to avoid confiscating one of its assets, as it was also a defendant in the lawsuits against the States.

“It may be noted that some reports contain deliberate statements suggesting that certain government agents were acting without due process in the settlement of certain judgment debts (totaling $ 418 million) resulting from the deduction and reimbursements owed to states and local authorities. from Paris. Repayment of club loans, ”the statement said.

“It is important and necessary to clarify, from the outset, that the deductions were based on four judgments in dispute that were rendered at different times in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019. Two of these judgments were consent judgments based on terms of Settlement reached by NGF in 2017 and 2019. Again, two of the four judgments were based on an earlier judgment rendered by the Federal High Court in 2013.

“It is, however, astonishing that between 2013 and 2021, neither NGF nor ALGON deemed fit to challenge or fully comply with any of these judgments. In pursuit of consent and settlement, the NGF itself has made billions in payments to consultants based on the same judgment it is now mocking.

“Through various letters to the Honorable Attorney General of the Federation and the Honorable Minister of Finance, NGF and ALGON expressed no objection and in fact recommended the same group of consultants for payment. Indeed, judgment debts were much higher than the figure above, but these agents ensured that the consultants made a consistent concessional offer.

“The HAGF office also subjected the consultant / contractor complaints to inquiries conducted by both the DSS and the EFCC to further verify the veracity of the complaints. Payment recommendations were therefore formulated on the basis of the positive results of these surveys. Since NGF and ALGON, who reached a court settlement resulting in a consent judgment, refused to comply with these judgments, it became relevant for the federal government to take the initiative in order to avoid a situation where the debt of NGF and ALGON would be transferred to the federal government and possibly excluded from its assets and interests.

“The federal government’s interest in intervening in the negotiated settlement stems from the fact that the consultants made the federal government a party to the action against NGF and ALGON, which implied that the judgment could be enforced against interest and assets. . of the federal government on the responsibility which was engaged exclusively by NGF and ALGON for which the federal government is not responsible.

“It is curious to note that both NGF and ALGON, who were effectively aware of these judgments between 2013 and 2019, consented to their partial execution and also undertook in 2019 to settle them on their FAAC allocations, did about-face only in 2021 to take action to challenge the judgments. The Federal Government acted in accordance with the undertaking / indemnification provided by NGF. More so, the judgment creditors also obtained mandamus orders requiring the issuance of the promissory notes.

“It is remarkable to note that the NGF received at various times in 2016 and 2018 payments from the federal government under the guise of legal and advisory fees related to the same reimbursements from the Paris Club. Specifically, NGF was paid 86,546,526.65 USD and 19,439,225,871.11 N in 2016 and 100,000,000.00 USD in 2018. However, it was convenient at the time not to complain about the payment of consultants. .

“Thus, the federal government did not act in a vacuum before the decision to comply with the existing judgments was taken. The federal government was unable to sit back and watch as the consultants / contractors had already obtained an absolute garnishment order seizing federal government funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria due to the fact that loan repayments of the Paris Club were made by the federal government to states and local governments for contempt of an existing tribunal rendered against NGF and ALGON by consent.

“Thus, the federal government has not resorted to arbitrary deductions of funds belonging to the states and local governments, it is rather to respond to the need to settle the judgment debts judiciously granted by NGF and ALGON which were contracted but for which they seek to transfer the responsibility to the federal government. able to pay wages because of the deductions is far from the truth as the problem is self-induced being the product of contract negotiations in respect of which NGF and ALGON have submitted to a legal decision legitimately taken with their consent.

“The Honorable Attorney General of the Federation denies any wrongdoing in the steps that have been taken so far to comply with various court judgments and is also not a party or aware of any of the programs or Sinister plots insinuated in malicious publications, but argues that it has a responsibility to protect the federal government from liability for a judgment debt incurred by the Nigerian Governor’s Forum and ALGON which is maliciously transferred to the federal government.