Three state governments of Abia, Cross River, and Delta have incurred the ire of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court over alleged breach of agreement entered with a consultancy firm, Messrs Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd
The court, presided over by Justice Yusuf Halilu, has therefore issued an order provisionally freezing the Paris-London Club Refund bank accounts of the three states.
Justice Halilu’s order follows an affidavit in support of an ex-parte originating summons sworn to by the Chairman and Managing Director of Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd, Dr. Maurice Ibe.
According to the affidavit, the suit arose from outstanding debts owed the organization by the three states for existing consultancy services on the refund of excess deductions on foreign loans and sundry charges in exchange for agreed percentage of recovered funds.
In the suit, Mr Ibe claimed that Abia state government is indebted to Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd to the tune of $11,325,000 and N1.72billion; Cross River state government has the sum of $8,050,000 and N1.2billion respectively against its name; with Delta state government’s debts recorded as $27,274,135 and N3billion respectively.
According to him, Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd was engaged by the Abia government on November 3, 2014 to pursue the refund of excess deductions on foreign loans and miscellaneous charges in exchange of 30 per cent of any fund recovered.
He stated that on the same date, Cross River government also engaged the firm for the same purpose, but in exchange of 20 per cent of any fund recovered while Delta state government was also involved in the arrangements that offered 30 per cent of any fund recovered in exchange to Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd.
Ibe’s affidavit insisted that there is an urgent need for the court to direct the third defendants (United Bank for Africa Plc and Zenith Bank Nig. Plc) in the case between Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd and the three state governments to, in the interim, stop further disbursement of funds already in or accruing to the Paris-London Club Refund accounts of the three states.
In his ruling on the ex-parte motion, Justice Halilu ordered that the banks should set up an escrow account to warehouse deposited funds in the respective bank accounts pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.
The case was therefore adjourned to September 7, 2017 for hearing.