The Governor of Abia sate, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu through his media aide, Onyebuchi Ememanka reassured Abians that no kobo of Abia State Paris Club Second Tranche Refund was frozen in the states UBA account. The governor stated that every kobo of the state has been moved out of that frozen account before the court order landed.
Read full communique below;
The attention of the Abia State Government has been drawn to a piece of news making the rounds that a High Court of the FCT presided over by Hon. Justice Yusuf Halilu today, Monday, August 7, 2017 made an exparte order of freezing the account of the Abia State Government wherein the second Paris Club Refunds received by the State is domiciled.
This order was sequel to an exparte application filed by one Dr. Maurice Obi of Mauritz Walton Nigeria Limited.
As expected, mischief makers who have no single idea of the background and full details of the matter have entered the market place with sensational headlines suggesting that ABIA IS IN TROUBLE and that the salary arrears already earmarked for payment will no longer be paid. The idea behind this is to create panic amongst the Abia workforce and indeed the entire state.
In the interest of public enlightenment and in furtherance of the openness of the Ikpeazu administration, it has become necessary to lay the facts bare.
Please note the following-
1. Discussions on the Paris Club Refunds to states in the country predates this administration.
For those who don’t know, the Paris Club Refunds are monies legitimately belonging to states which were over deducted from the accounts of the states for the settlement of the debt owed by the country to the Paris Club of creditors under the scheme worked out by the Obasanjo administration.
2. When the over deductions were sorted out, the Federal Government and the 36 states including the FCT agreed that the states should get these funds back and discussions on the modalities commenced. This was during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
3. As a result of the complex nature of the transactions, the states then under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors Forum agreed to hire the services of financial advisors and consultants to assist in determining the exact amount due to each state under the refund scheme. Each state agreed with the consultants on the details of the contractual agreement and how much was to be paid as fees.
4. Please note that all the 36 states then agreed to this.
5. The refunds were never made by the last administration which left the entire scheme including the agreements with the consultants to lie in abeyance.
6. It was the present government of President Buhari that now agreed to make the refunds and this naturally reactivated the interests of the consultants.
7. Most of the Governors are new and were not part of the agreement with the consultants and they sought fresh details on the agreements. The reconciliation between the consultants and the states together with the Nigerian Governors Forum has been ongoing and some payments had been made to the consultants. This is public knowledge.
8. When the last Paris Club Refunds in the sum of 5.715 Billion arrived, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu instructed that 100% of the money be committed to the payment of arrears of salaries of workers in the state. The Committee of Labor leaders and officials of the State Government went to work immediately and apportioned the funds to the last kobo as directed by the Governor.
10. I can personally confirm that full cash backed payment instructions to the various banks through the respective ministries and agencies had been issued by the State Ministry of Finance since last week. The delays in final payment is not the fault of government but the banks. Indeed, today, labor leaders visited branches of the banks handling the payment to push them to expedite action on the issue.
11. By the time the order of the Abuja High Court was made today freezing the UBA Account, the funds had long been moved to other banks for the payment of salary arrears and so, the order is ineffectual. It is elementary law that an order of injunction cannot lie against an action already completed.
12. The government of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu wishes to restate that contrary to the wild claims that the funds were used to pay relatives, friends, etc, the entire Paris Club Refunds received from the Federal Government was applied 100% to salary arrears. Not a kobo was used for another purpose.
13. As a law abiding government, the Abia State Government will respond appropriately to the court action when it is properly served with the court processes. Even a first year law student knows that service of court processes is a condition precedent before a defendant can appear in court. The order, which has become of no consequence, was made exparte, that is to say, without the presence and input of the other side.
Finally, government assures her workers of the safety of the Paris Club Refunds which had long been moved to banks for payment to workers.
Please ignore fifth columnists and their kindergarten scare mongering tactics.
August 7, 2017