Paris Club Refund: Again, Court Summons Emefiele Over $53m Debt

Paris Club Refund: Again, Court Summons Emefiele Over $53m Debt

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, ordered Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to appear before it on 19 July over a 53 million dollar-judgement debt arising from the Pars Club refund.

Inyang Ekwo, who gave the order during the hearing of a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1193/2017, insisted that the court would not hear Mr Emefiele’s motion for stay until he appeared in court.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Ekwo had, on 20 October 2022, ordered the CBN governor to appear in court on 18 January over his alleged refusal to obey the order of the court for the payment of the judgement debt in favour of a lawyer, Joe Agi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

However, the 18 January proceedings could not go on as scheduled. This prompted the court to adjourn the case until 20 March subsequently.

Mr Agi had sued Linas International Ltd, Minister of Finance and CBN, to court as judgment debtors, following an application for garnishee made by him as judgment creditor in the case.

The suit is one in a flurry of legal actions associated with the federal government’s refund to states and local governments the amounts of funds said to have been over-deducted from their accounts to offset Paris Club and London between 1995 and 2002.

Linas International Ltd and its promoter, Ned Nwoko, had initiated the first significant suit, which culminated in a court judgement awarding them huge amounts of money for their roles in helping states and local government areas to discover the excessive deductions from their accounts.

Since then, countless entities, lawyers, and other professionals have surfaced, claiming to have provided one form of consultancy services or the other to recover the money for the states and local governments.

Mr Agi, through his suit, seeks enforcement of a judgement that he obtained against Linas International Ltd for his role in helping the firm to secure the recovery of the funds.

Upon resumed hearing on Tuesday, Mr Agi’s counsel, Ayodele Arotiowa, said Mr Emefiele had yet to comply with the court’s order compelling him to appear in court.

Audu Anuga, SAN, who appeared for Mr Emefiele and CBN, however, pointed out that the court did not sit on the previous date scheduled for a hearing.

“There is an intervening circumstance which we have brought to the court’s attention by filing an affidavit of fact,” he said.

The judge then asked when Mr Anuga filed the appeal.

“The appeal was filed on 28 October 2022,” the lawyer responded.

He said besides the appeal, they also filed a motion for a stay of execution.

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