Court fixed Dec.13 for continuation of hearing over 418m Dollars suit

Justice Inyang Ekwo has adjourned till  December 13 for continuation of hearing of the suit filed by 36 states challenging the decision of the federal government to deduct a whooping sum of 418 million Dollars from their account to pay  contractors who facilitated the refund.

The sum is to be deducted by federal government through the office of the attorney general of the federation and Minister of Justice and  pay contractors who worked for the refund of excess payment made by the states government and local governments in off setting the Paris club loan.

At the hearing on Tuesday Justice Ekwo permitted the Plaintiffs, (36 states) to regularize their processes that were filed out of time. The processes were the counter affidavits filed in response to the defendants objections to the suit. 

The court also granted permission for substituted service on some of the defendants who have allegedly refused to accept court processes/papers. The court directed that the documents be pasted at specific wall.

The motion for regularisation and for substituted service granted by the judge were moved/ agued by Jibrin Okutepa SAN the plaintiff counsel.

Drama however ensued when the judge was about to adjourn the matter, as some of the defendants made desperate efforts to move  their motions praying the court to discharge the ex-parte interim restraining  order on  the defendants .

The interim order made on November 5, 2021 had restrained the defendants from deducting  money from states government account pending the determination of motion on notice.

Counsel to the 1st  defendant  Federal government Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN)  and the 12th and 13th defendants Chief Olusola Oke (SAN),had in a spirited efforts attempted to move their   applications seeking to vacate the interim order of injunction.

They argued that by the practice direction of the court, the order of injunction ought to last for 14days and that it should be deemed as expired and no longer in existence.

However, counsel to the states , Okutepa SAN read out the order in the open court and submitted that until the motion for interlocutory injunction is decided, the interim order shall be in force and binding on all parties.

Justice Iyang counseled parties in the matter to thread softly adding that the matter will be diligently and speedy determined.

The judge there after fixed December 13 for the court to attend to all pending applications and ordered that fresh hearing notice must be served on the parties. 

In an interview with reporters after the proceeding  Onyeka Nwokolo who stood for Ned Woko and Linas International Ltd the firm that negotiated the refund,  expressed displeasure over the  way and manner the Paris club refund was being politicized and used to blackmail some of the defendants.

According to him the states legitimately on their own volution, issued power of attorney to some of the defendants to pursue the Paris club refund on their behalf, with a condition that 10 percent of the recovered money will be paid to them and  insisted that the power of attorney is binding on the parties.

Nwokolo urged the Plaintiffs to be honorable in implementing the contractual terms rather than foot dragging.

The senior lawyer revealed that a subsisting judgement of a court of competent jurisdiction has ordered the payment of the money to the contractors after the economic and financial Crimes investigated and confirmed the authenticity of the contract.