Paris Club Refund: Court Dismisses States Suit Challenging Deduction Of $418m

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The Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit by the Attorney-General of the 36 states against the Federal Government.

In the suit, the states are challenging the planned deduction of $418 million from the Federation Account to settle debts owed consultants engaged by the states and local governments about the Paris Club refunds.

Justice Inyang Ekwo dismissed the suit in a judgment delivered on Friday, saying the attorneys-general have not shown enough evidence to accord them the right to institute the action.

He held that there was no express evidence to show that the governors of the 36 states consented to the filing of the suit.

According to the judge, the office of the Attorney-General of a state was created under Section 195 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended and the AG of a state is appointed by a governor, which makes the AG an appointee who is under the control of a governor.

He held that the contention of the plaintiffs that it was not a party to the judgment debt did not hold water because the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and the Association of Local Governments were parties in the suit.

The court further held that the plaintiffs had acknowledged the existence of judgment debt, insisting that the filing of the suit was a ploy to challenge the judgment debt.

Justice Ekwo noted that the action of the plaintiff amounted to an abuse of court process and subsequently dismissed the suit for lacking in merit.

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