Paris Club Refund scandal: More troubles for Orji, Ikpeazu as Consultant petitions EFCC, govt officials arrested
Some officials of Abia State government has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) over their role in the Paris Club Refund scandal, creating more troubles for former Governor, Chief Theodore Orji and the current Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
Some were arrested late Thursday while more were brought in for questioning on Friday.
Their arrest came following a petition by a consultancy film – Mauritz Walton Nig Ltd – alleging that despite engaging it to reconcile the state debt profile with the federal government, the state government refused to pay after execution of job.
Rather, according to the consultancy film, the government of Abia state went ahead to receive consultancy fee from the Nigerian Governors’ Forum without remitting same to the consultant.
They also tried to pay same to a spurious consultant and a known front of Abia State Government officials.
In the petition, Mauritz Walton had urged the anti-graft agency to investigate the Abia State government for receiving the consultancy money without remittance to the firm.
Among those detained for interrogation over matter, include Mr. Obinna Oriaku, a former commissioner for finance under the current Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
Meanwhile, for its refusal to pay the consultancy film, Mauritz Walton Nig. Ltd had already instituted a suit at an Abuja high court.
The firm said Abia government had engaged it to pursue the refund of excess deductions on foreign loans and miscellaneous charges in exchange of certain percent of any fund recovered.
In the affidavit, Dr. Maurice Ibe, the Group Executive Chairman/CEO of the company averred that Abia State government owes Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd. the sum of eleven billion Naira.
He said Abia state government had engaged Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd. on the 3rd of November, 2014, to pursue the refund of excess deductions on foreign loans and miscellaneous charges in exchange of 30 percent of any fund recovered.
But since completion of the reconciliation, according to Dr. Ibe, Abia government has refused to fulfill its part of the agreement, but rather suspiciously brought in a known front of several Abia State Governments to fraudulently claim his fees.
Dr. Ibe alleged that Mr. Oriaku in his statement to the press intentionally misled the agency by staying mum on Ikpeazu’s involvement in the fraud but rather focused more on the former Governor, Chief Theodore Orji and his family who also has a lot to answer.
He said: “Mr Oriaku was the commissioner of Finance and worked under Okezie Ikpeazu when Abia state government received the London/Paris Club refund.”
Legal counsel to Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd., Charles Ude Esq., in a phone interview with ElombahNews, added:
“More Abia State officials are expected to be brought in within the week for more grilling to unearth what happened to Abia State Paris Club Refund.”