The federal government has sought an Abuja Federal High Court to nullify promissory notes given to consultants in connection with the Paris Club reimbursement.
The suit, dated FHC/ABJ/CS/896/2023, was filed by the federal government, the federation’s attorney-general, the minister of finance, budget, and national planning, and the federation’s accountant-general.
FSDH Merchant Bank Limited, Ned Munir Nwoko, Gregory Nangor Lar, Riok Nigeria Limited, Prince Orji Nwafor Orizu, Olaitan Bello, Dr. Ted Iseghohi Edwards, and Panic Alert Security System Limited are among the defendants.
The contested payment of $418 million to consultants (defendants in the complaint) hired by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, and the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, has been a source of contention among the three branches of government.
Remember that the Debt Management Office, DMO, issued 62 promissory notes worth $418,953,668 to the defendants on September 27, 2021, as a result of multiple judgements and orders of mandamus obtained by the defendants.
The plaintiffs argue, among other things, that the promissory notes were unlawful because they were issued incorrectly and in contravention of applicable legislation.
They claimed that, while the promissory notes were signed by the then-minister of finance, budget, and national planning and the DMO’s director-general, they were not signed as needed.
In a supporting affidavit, Oyinlade Koleosho, a principal state counsel in the federal ministry of justice, stated that the promissory notes were issued incorrectly and invalidly against the federation’s assets.
“The promissory notes in issue were wrongfully and unlawfully charged on the federation’s assets and revenues, rather than the assets and revenues of the states and local governments who incurred the applicable loans/debts,” the affidavit stated.
Sections 314 and 317 of the constitution, according to the lawyer, separate the assets of a state or local government from those of the federation or federal government.
The plaintiffs also alleged that because the defendants were not employed by the federal government, the promissory notes given to them (defendants) lacked legal value.