By Olufemi Adediran, Abeokuta
The Ogun State Government on Thursday refuted allegations by Bond Investments and Holdings Limited that the government owes it $11,740,362.00, as consultancy fees, on ‘external debt and multilateral loans’, insisting that government has no legal contract with the firm.
The government accused the company, believed to be owned by Hon. Bode Mustapha, of plotting to rip off the State, “upon the inauguration of Mustapha’s political ally, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on May 29, 2019”.
The firm, through its counsel, Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), had served Governor Ibikunle Amosun, the Commissioner of Finance, Wale Oshinowo and the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, a notice demanding payment of $11.74 million service debt owed it or risk court action after seven days.
The firm, which is a consultant to the State government in respect of external debt and multilateral loans, accused the Amosun-led administration of breaching the agreement on consultancy fee running into $11,740,362.
But, Oshinowo in a Press release denied the firm’s claims, saying, “the Senator Ibikunle Amosun government warns Ogun indigenes to be on their guard, as regards the finances of the State, as some unconscionable politicians will do everything possible to recoup their investment in the last governorship election from the public till”.
“From the facts available,” said Oshinowo, “Bond Investments and Holdings Limited, in 2009, entered into an 80-day agreement with the State government, as Consultants on Paris Club Refund, which ended in 2010, by effluxion of time and operation of law. Worse, the firm did nothing within the duration of the contract”, Oshinowo said.
According to him, “For emphasis, Clause 2.1 of the agreement between Ogun State Government and Bond Investments and Holdings Limited, dated 23rd December, 2009, stipulated clearly 80 working days and could be terminated at the instance of either of the parties. We note that a letter from the State government titled, Re: Notice of Termination of Contract, Ref. No. DMU/012/122 and dated 15th November, 2011, indeed terminated the said contract”.
Osinowo added, “It is shocking, to say the least, that the company, which accepted the termination of the contract, without a whimper, kept silent until 2017, when the Federal Government began the release of the Paris Club Refund, thus laying bare the opportunistic intention of the promoters of the firm to reap where they did not sow.”
He explained that, “Paris Club Refund was released to States, under stringent conditions and its use closely monitored by the Federal Government, such that States that deviated, were investigated by EFCC and sanctioned. The Bond Investments and Holdings Limited did not facilitate the refund of any external debt, in respect of Paris Club Debt and any multilateral loan(s) to Ogun State.
“The sudden resurrection of 2009 purported contract, was a premeditated action, designed to scam the State government, under the guise of an anticipated arbitration judgment. The Amosun government, noted for its probity and accountability in public finance management, will not be a party to this orchestrated scheme to swindle the State,” Oshinowo said.
As the new government comes on board on May 29, 2019, the statement urged the public to discard the claims by Bond Investments and Holdings Limited and called for public vigilance, as “Ogun does not owe any firm a service debt; it is not in breach of any agreement; and will not need to pay a dime as consultancy fees to any company on Paris Debt Refund.
“Finally, we are not unaware that the targets of the spurious claims by the consultancy firm are the N126 billion refund for federal roads, constructed by the Amosun administration (which is due for payment) and possibly, the $350 million World Bank concessionary loan, negotiated by the current government. The general public is hereby put on notice to ensure Ogun State is not shortchanged under any guise. To be forewarned is to be forearmed,” the statement concluded.