The Federal Government, on Thursday, said state governors had no basis to refute the over $418m deductions from the Paris Club refund paid to consultants they hired.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, disclosed this to journalists at the 46th Session of the State House Ministerial Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
Fielding questions on the issue, Malami declared that the governors originally created the liability whose payment they had also indemnified.
He explained that when the Nigeria Governors’ Forum requested the refund, one of the conditions was the settlement of the consultants it engaged.
He noted that when the refund was paid to the states, a part payment was also made to the consultants. But the governors eventually halted payment, requesting an out-of-court settlement instead.
According to Malami, the governors’ decision promoted a request to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to disburse the payments.
The request, he explained, was forwarded to the Office of the Attorney-General for its legal counsel.
After running the required checks, the AGF’s Office spotted no elements of fraud involved, Malami said.
According to him, the indemnity of the governors was also sought and received.
“That was when we agreed that the payment should be made,” he stated.