‘Why I petitioned EFCC over Paris Club refund’

The Group Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Mauritz Walton Nigeria Limited, Maurice Ibe, has said he petitioned to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against the Abia State Government to avoid being part of a money laundering scheme.

Ibe stated this on Wednesday at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory while being cross-examined by the counsel for Ziplon Concept, Jeff Njikeonye, SAN.

He said, “My Lord, the fourth defendant wrote to the plaintiff that the state government will accept to pay the fee if he accepts a 40/60% sharing formula.

“The Abia State Government offered N250m to me and the fourth defendant (Ziplon) in the presence of Jeff Njikonye and representatives of the government of Abia State.

“In the meeting, it was revealed that Ziplon had already been paid the sum of N100m and the issue became of what happens to the N250m offered.

“The then Accountant General of Abia State was shocked to learn that I did not know that N100m had been disbursed to Ziplon.

“If I recall vividly, counsel for the fourth defendant interjected and said the N100m was given to the former governor.

“At that point, I told him, I will not be part of money laundering for any individual or entity because of my career and profession.

“I proceeded to write a petition to the EFCC against the Abia State Government and some of its officials. Investigation is ongoing.”

He informed the court that he turned down the offer as it was deceitful and in bad fate.

Mauritz Walson had sued the Abia State Government because the government failed to pay the agreed 30 per cent of the $151,410,816.39 that was refunded by the Federal Government to the state government for over-deduction from the state foreign loan portfolio.

In the suit, marked FCT/HC/CV/2470/2017, the plaintiff approached the court for an order to compel the Abia State Government to pay Mauritz Walton Nigeria Limited the sum of N12m as its fee in the Paris Club refund.

It sued the Abia State Government, Accountant General of Abia State, a bank, and Ziplon Consult, as first to fourth defendants, respectively, for the recovery of the agreed sum from the refund.

The court adjourned the matter till October 14th for continuation of hearing.


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