$151m Paris Club Abia State refund

I petitioned EFCC because I can not launder money for govt officials,witness tell Court

A witness, Dr. Maurice Ibe has  told the Federal Capital Territory High Court  sitting in Kubwa that he petitioned against officials of Abia State government because they wanted to use him to launder money  for some persons in government .

Ibe stated this when he testified before Justice J.N Ogbonnaya of the Federal Capital Territory High Court on Wednesday in a 30 percent of $151m Paris Club Refund suit .

The witness firm had instituted the suit against Abia  state government and three others after the state government renegaded in payment of the agreed 30 percent of the recovered  sum .

Ibe said that he opted to petition when he discovered that N100m out of the agreed sum was given to “the former governor.”

Dr. Ibe who is the Group Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Mauritz Walton Nig. Ltd,  the plaintiff stated this when he was being cross examined by Jeff Njikeonye (SAN), counsel to 4th defendant, (Ziplon Concept), 

Other defendants in the suit are the Accountant General of Abia state, a bank and Ziplon Concept.

Mauritz Walton had sued Abia state government for refusing to pay it an agreed 30℅ of the sum of $151,410,816.39 United States Dollars being refund of the over deduction from Abia state foreign loan portfolio by the Federal Government. 

Upon cross examination, Dr Ibe confirmed he was engaged by the then governor Theodore Orji to determine, reconcile and recover the sum of $151m USD which was owed the State government.

However, the payment of the 30% has become subject of litigation, upon which the revelation by Dr Ibe was made.

The plaintiff in his testimony told the court that along the line, the Abia government brought in the 4th defendant (Ziplon) claiming it had renegotiated with it to carry out the job for the state.

“My Lord, the 4th defendant wrote to the plaintiff that the State government will accept to pay the fee, if he accepts a 40/60% sharing formula.

“The Abia state government offered N250m to me and the 4th defendant (Ziplon) in the presence of Jeff Njikonye (counsel to the 4th defendant), and representatives of Government of Abia state.

“In the meeting, it was revealed that Ziplon had already been paid the sum of N100m and the issue became of what happens to the N250m offered.

“The then Accountant General of Abia State was shocked to learn that I did not know that N100m had been disbursed to Ziplon.

“If I recall vividly, counsel to the 4th defendant interjected and said the N100m was given to the former governor.

“At that point, I told him, I will not be part of money laundering for any individual or entity because of my career and profession.

Based on the foregoing, “I proceeded to write a petition to the EFCC against the Abia state government and some of its officials. Investigation is on going” Dr Ibe told the court.

The plaintiff posited that he rejected the offer because “it was with bad intent, deceitful and in bad fate, and I did not even consider it”.

The plaintiff told the court that all he needed and had asked the Abia state government and the 4th defendant (Ziplon) to do, is for them to provide him, “be it a sheet of paper, documents etc that showed the 4th defendant did a legitimate job as per recovery of the excess deductions.

“If they do, we can then know how to apply sharing formula, but till today, no evidence, not even a single piece of paper has been presented as work product”.

In the suit marked FCT/HC/CV/2470/2017, filed by one Charles Ude, the plaintiff is seeking the order of the court to make Abia State government to pay Mauritz Walton Nig.Ltd, the sum of N12bn being consulting fee for the Paris Club Refund Abia state debt reconciliation with the federal government.
The firm said Abia state government had engaged it to pursue the refund of excess deductions on foreign loans and miscellaneous charges in exchange of certain percent of any fund recovered.