Abia Paris Club Refund: Mauritz Walton writes Alex Otti, says quit jumping to conclusion
Mauritz Walton, a consultancy firm that consulted for Abia State government on the Paris Club Refund loans, has urged ex banker and former governorship candidate in Abia, Alex Otti to avail himself of the facts and circumstances surrounding repayment of the Abia State Paris Club Refunds before seeking his five minutes of fame.
In reacting to Otti’s press statement on Tuesday, entitled: “Abia Paris Club Refunds: Stealing on an Industrial Scale”, which was published in some national dailies on Wednesday, the consultancy firm advised Otti to avail himself the opportunity to understand the agreement and implications before his conclusion that it is “stealing on an industrial scale ”
Otti had alluded that the contract was a grand plan to fleece the state government with “…such brazen audacity and cruelty that has the propensity to ruin the state in perpetuity and make millions of Abians slaves to the perpetrators of those heinous financial crimes” and that the contract was meant to cripple the state economically.
In a statement signed by the Group Executive Chairman/CEO of Mauritz Walton Nig. Ltd, Dr. Maurice Ibe said the firm’s contract with Abia government was in fact for the betterment of the citizens of the state.
He stated that no single individual or entity has brought $151 Million USD to the State since its creation.
Dr. Ibe also advised two former commissioners of Finance in the state, Obinna Oriaku and Philip Nto, to tell the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the public all they know about the misappropriation of the money paid to Abia State Government by the Federal Government, rather than misinforming the public.
He further said that Mr. Oriaku has continued to be economical with the truth.
“It may please Mr. Alex Otti and Abians in general to know that Mr. Obinna Oriaku not only re-engaged the services of Mauritz Walton twice at the direction of the Governor, Dr. Okezie Ipkeazu, but directly supervised the squandering of over 22 billion Naira received by the state from the Paris Club Refund.
“Mr. Oriaku should also explain to the people of Abia what happened to the 5% consultancy fees paid to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum which ended in the pockets of Abia State government officials,” Dr. Ibe said.
He noted that there would be a day of reckoning for all those who participated in the stealing bonanza that eclipsed the Paris Club Refund through the Nigerian Governors Forum, and that day is fast approaching as immunity does not last forever.
The statement reads in part:
“Ordinarily, we would have waved aside the press release on Tuesday, 6 July, by ex banker and former governorship candidate, Alex Otti on the Paris Club Refund scandal currently rocking Abia State Government.
“But on a second thought we felt the headline, “Abia Paris Club Refunds: Stealing on an Industrial Scale”, is capable of misleading the general public that the whole exercise was wrapped in a scam.
“So, we feel obliged and will like to educate Alex Otti on certain things as the consultant that handled the reconciliation of Abia State excess foreign loans deductions by the Federal Government.
“We, Mauritz Walton Nig.Ltd, were engaged by Abia State government in Nov.3, 2014, to help it reconcile and retrieve the funds, after our proposal to that effect was accepted; and agreement was signed by both parties – Mauritz Walton and Abia Government.
“However, after the successful execution of the contract, Abia govt became unwilling to fulfill its side of the bargain and has since refused to pay.
“This of course nudged us to the High Court in Abuja to seek redress. Records of proceedings of the court so far are already in the public domain.
“For one, you cannot describe a contract freely entered into as “questionable agreements” and “bogus scheme” as impunged in your press release. As a banker, you should know better .
“Two, to the best of our knowledge there was no other consultant than Mauritz Walton. The firm did all the paper work from the beginning to the end until the federal government paid Abia the over deducted sum. So, a second consultant was never in the picture.
“Our contractual agreement with Abia government was never to plunder the State as you insinuated, but to work for the State which we did with professional touch and diligence. The end result is the Federal Government payment to Abia Government of the over-deducted loans.
“We reiterate that our contract with Abia was never “…with a view to crippling its Government and shortchanging the people” of Abia as you noted in your release. Infact, it was to improve the economy of Abia and its people.
“For your information, no single individual or entity has brought 151 Million USD to the State since its creation.
“We also want to bring to your attention that Mauritz Walton noticed the discrepancies and attempt by some individuals in the State to hijack the already completed work; that was one of the reasons we petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ((EFCC).
“You ought to had availed yourself of the facts and circumstances surrounding repayment of the Abia State Paris Club Refunds before seeking five minutes of fame.
“Meanwhile, we urge former Finance Commissioners in the state, Obinna Oriaku and Philip Nto, who have been talking from both sides of their mouth to please save their breathe and tell the EFCC all they know about the consultancy fee, rather than running their mouth on the social media.
“As we clearly stated in the petition, they should come clean without confusing the public how the second consultant firm came about. We would have loved to say more on this issue, but the matter is already before the court of law.
“We advise that the former commissioners should prepare their defence and present same to the EFCC, which is already investigating the matter.
“Tell the commission what you know about spurious claims to the consultancy fee by fronts known to the state government,” Mauritz Walton added.