The Association of Local Governments of Nigeria has sent a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari revealing how some firms want to enforce the deductions of more than N115 billion from the allocations meant for the 774 local government areas from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
The petition obtained by SaharaReporters on Saturday is titled, “Petition Against Fraudulent Attempts by Riok Nigeria Limited To Obtain $143 million or N54.5 billion and by Dr Ted Edwards Isegohi To Obtain $159 million or N60.5 billion from the allocations of all 774 LGAs in Nigeria.”
ALGON alleged that some firms including Ted Edwards Isegohi, against a court order, are making a “fraudulent claim of $159 million” from the 774 LGA allocations.
The firm claimed it worked for Local Government Councils, in getting Refunds of First Line Charge/Paris Club.
In the petition dated March 29, ALGON lamented that some of the worst hit LGAs in the deductions are Ika North Local Government Area, Delta State; Ngor Okpala Local Government Area, Imo State and Lafia Local Government Area Nasarawa State.
The petition explained that the matter dated back to 2014 when a member of ALGON Board entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with another firm, Riok Nigeria Limited, (the company) for the provision of boreholes, among others in all the 774 local government areas and area councils of Nigeria.
SaharaReporters gathered that while the company seeks to recover the sum of $143.4 million or N54.5 billion which they alleged to be due under the memorandum, ALGON is claiming that there is no evidence that the company built or even commenced any construction of boreholes in any of the 774 LGAs.
Also, ALGON in the petition explained that Ted Edwards also claimed to have provided legal services in a court suit FHC/ABJ/CS/130/13 and that by virtue of an instruction letter from ALGON, he is entitled to 10 per cent of the judgment payments; which is $318 million.
ALGON, however, disputed that in a ruling delivered on the 27th of June 2016, the Federal High Court castigated Ted Edwards for attempting to smuggle his claim for $318 million into the Garnishee proceedings in the Linas judgment because it said Ted Edwards was never part of those proceedings.
The petition to Buhari partly reads, “Going by the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission Investigation report of August 1, 2018, even if Ted Edwards was lawfully engaged, which from the above, is utterly unlikely, the fact remains that there is no evidence of any work he did to merit the sum he now claims.
“We also gather that Riok Nigeria Limited (RIOK) is on the verge of obtaining from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, a massive payment of $143.4 million USD or N54.5billion, for a Borehole drilling contract that Riok has not performed at all. We gather that the payment is to be made via deductions from Local Government Allocations over a period of time.
“Respectfully, Your Excellency, we have tried to uncover Riok Nigeria Limited desperate attempt to fraudulently obtain funds from the Local Governments through the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning. The funds Riok Nigeria Limited seeks belong to the Local Government Councils of the Federation. More importantly, Riok Nigeria Limited did not perform its part of the agreement in the MOU.
“Therefore, we must make it abundantly clear that any payment to Ted Edwards Isegohi or RIOK by the Federal Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning, from Local Governments’ Allocations without the consent or authority of any Local Government Councils will be an illegality and a clear violation of the principle of tier autonomy over government funds enshrined in the Constitution and recognised by the Supreme Court; it could also open a flood gate of claims by Local Governments across the country against the Federal Ministry of Finance and any other Ministry or Agency that facilitates such illegal and fraudulent payment.
“Your Excellency, on behalf of all the Local Government Councils of the Federation, we trust that your noble office will discountenance the unjust claim by Ted Edwards Isegohi and Riok Nigeria Limited and direct the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to act accordingly.”