*We shall prosecute all those found guilty
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered about N1.420 billion from some firms and a consultant who were reportedly alleged to have benefited from the N19 billion Paris club fund illegally deducted by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).
Out of the sum, about N1.2 billion was frozen in the account of the said consultant alone. The consultant used to be a staffer of the Senate President.
The EFCC was already on the trail of all those who benefitted from the N19 billion cash. Apart from the N8 billion left in the NGF’s naira account, our detectives have recovered about N1.420 billion from some companies and consultants who were used to launder some of the Paris club fund.
“While a company refunded N200 million, the other paid back undeserving N20 million. We froze about N1.2 billion in a consultant’s account.
“The cash refunds have clearly shown that some of the Paris club fund were siphoned for private use. This is why the EFCC is determined to ensure a comprehensive investigation of the scandal.”
The source added: “the ultimate objective of this commission is to recover the diverted funds and ensure judicious use of the loan refunds by states. The law will, however, be applied to those used for the illegal funds. This is not a war against the NGF or any particular governor.”
The presidency had so far released N1. 266.44 trillion to the 36 states in the past one year, including N713.70 billion special intervention funds to states.
Following protests by states against over-deductions for external debt service between 1995 and 2002, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the release of N522.74 billion (first tranche) to states as refunds, pending reconciliation of records.
Each state was entitled to an average of N14.5 billion, being 25 per cent of the amounts claimed.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said the payment of the claims will enable states to offset outstanding salaries and pension which had been “causing considerable hardship.”
The governors had sought for the loan refunds to states and local governments at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on the 24th May, 2016.