Published On: Wed, Jun 30th, 2021

$151m Refund: Why I Petitioned EFCC Against Abia Govt – Witness

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News Investigators/ The Chief Executive Officer of Mauritz Walton Nig. Ltd, Maurice Ibe, on Wednesday told an FCT High Court in Kubwa that he wrote a petition against the Abia Government to the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) over a breach of agreement.
Mr. Ibe made the revelation while being cross-examined by the counsel to Ziplon Concept (fourth defendant), Jeff Njikeonye, SAN, in a suit filed by Mauritz Walton against the Abia government.
Other defendants in the suit are the Attorney-General of Abia, United Bank of Africa plc and Ziplon Concept limited.
Mauritz Walton Limited sued the Abia government for refusing to pay it an agreed 30 per cent of the sum of 151.4 million dollars being refund of the over deduction from the Abia government foreign loan portfolio by the Federal Government.
Upon cross examination, Ibe confirmed he was engaged by the then governor Theodore Orji to determine, reconcile and recover the sum of 151 million dollars which was owed the State government on Nov.3, 2014.
Ibe in his testimony told the court that along the line, the Abia government brought in the fourth defendant (Ziplon) claiming it had renegotiated with it to carry out the job for the state.
”Ziplon Concept wrote to Mauritz Walton Ltd that the state government will accept to pay the fee, if he accepts a 40/60 per cent sharing formula.
“The Abia government offered N250m to me and the fourth defendant (Ziplon) ,counsel to Abia Accountant General, Tony Ugbulafor and representatives of Government were present in the meeting held at Abia Lodge, Asokoro Abuja.
“In the meeting, it was revealed that Ziplon had already been paid N100m. What happened to the N250m offered.
“The then Attorney General of Abia was shocked to learn that i did not know that N100m had been disbursed to Ziplon.
“At that point, I told him, I will not be part of the arrangement. It was based on this that I wrote a petition to the EFCC against the Abia government and some of its officials,” Ibe said.
Ibe said he rejected the offer because “it was with bad intent, deceitful and in bad fate, and I did not even consider it”.
He is seeking the order of the court to make Abia government pay Mauritz Walton Nig.Ltd, N12 billion being consulting fee for the Paris Club Refund Abia debt reconciliation with the federal government.
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.
Mr. Ibe said Abia government engaged Mauritz Walton Nig. Ltd on the Nov. 3, 2014 to pursue the refund of excess deductions on foreign loans and miscellaneous charges in exchange of 30 per cent of any fund recovered.
According to him, since completion of the reconciliation, the government refused to fulfill its part of the agreement, but rather suspiciously brought in another firm to claim the consultancy fee.
Justice Kezziah Ogbonnaya adjourned the matter until Oct.4 and Oct. 7 for continuation of hearing.

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