More than 2 percent of the fresh $6.9 billion Paris Club refund has been soaked up by some fat cat consultants recruited by Chairman of the Nigeria Governors forum, NGE, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari.
Internal documents passed over the week-end reveal consultants are set to pocket a whooping $138 million for doing nothing.
Yari, in a recent letter to Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, conveyed the agreement to pay 2% to these consultants. The letter reads: “Please recall that the Nigeria Governors Forum had at its meeting of May 2016 appointed a Consortium of Financial Consultants to reconcile and recover over-deductions from the Paris and London Club loans due to states and local governments.
Part of the letter read: “Also, Mr. President in a meeting with members of the Forum had graciously agreed to pay 50% of the monies due and the balance of 50% paid after due and diligent reconciliation of the accounts.
“At the last meeting of the Nigeria Governors Forum held in July 2016, the Forum unanimously resolved to pay a fee of 2% to the consultants as their professional fees for the services rendered.
In a sign of deep distrust that has emerged in the forum, some governors are protesting over the payout of over N42 billion to the consultants.
The aggrieved governors said they were not happy realising that “one or two governors” brought the lead consultants after each state had engaged its own consultants, according to The Nation.
“Our colleagues can also not be offering consultancy services to us through some proxies”, he said, pleading not to be named because of “the sensitivity” of the matter.
“At the end of it all, states are expected to part with N42.2billion to consultants who are not primary sources of the loan records. We were shocked that out of the N19billion consultancy/legal fees paid into the NGF accounts, most consultants hired by states have not been paid a farthing.
“The bulk of the job of the reconciliation of loan refunds is being done by officials and consultants or financial advisers from each state, the Debt Management Office (DMO), the Ministry of Finance, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF).
“Some of us will resist further deductions from our loan refund. The N42.2billion is outrageous”.
It was gathered that suspicion has built across the forum “I don’t believe a single thing he has been saying, ”declared an angry governor, in reference to Yari’s defense of the consultants.
The fresh crisis is fueling an intense wave of anti- Yari resentment. But the spread of conspiracy theories appeared to reach a fantastical peak in the forum in recent weeks with assertions that most governors denied local government areas of their share through non-remittance or partial remittance.
“Some states got the refund and diverted it to other uses. Others transferred to Joint Account and gave local governments paltry sums, a governor told The Nation.
“We have the list of states where local government staff have been subjected to untold hardship by governors who have withheld the share of the third tier.
“What the government expected was that since each local government paid for the loans, its refund should be directly remitted to it to pay outstanding salaries.
“In a few states, the governors outrightly denied local governments their refund, as if the Federal Government did not release any cash.
Interviews with residents of some states by Per Second News illuminate the distrust that has developed across Nigeria — fueled by anger at the governors and a sense among many that the state government is no longer on the side of the people it is dedicated to serve.
According to sources in the EFCC, some governor’s are under the spotlight over allegations that billions of Naira were diverted for the personal use of officials and some people associated with them.
It was gathered that the EFCC is continuing with its investigation of the Paris Club refund diversion by some governors.