Court Sets Aside Consent Judgment Over $47m Paris Club Refund


A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has set aside a consent judgment entered in favour of a company, Panic Alert Security Systems Ltd against the Trustees of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.

The consent judgment had directed that consultants be paid for the roles they played in securing the Paris Club refund received by the Federal Government.
But in a ruling dated September 20, cited by judiciary correspondents on Wednesday, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho held that the said consent judgment in its entirety was entered without jurisdiction.
The court agreed with counsel to the 36 State Governors, that the reliefs claimed by Panic Alert Systems Ltd. against NGF in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/123/2018, were premised on a simple contract which by Section 251 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) strips the Court ab initio the required jurisdiction to entertain such matters.
Accordingly, the court set aside the consent judgment.
The ruling was sequel to a motion seeking the setting aside of the consent judgment, filed on June 30, 2021, by Paul Ogbole, SAN, on behalf of the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
The NGF had argued that the consent judgment did not award the sum of $47,821,920 or any other sum to Panic Alert.
The NGF submitted on the contrary, that the judgment merely stated that Panic Alert will be referred to the Attorney General of the Federation for verification and settlement.
Panic Alert Security Systems Ltd had relied on the consent judgment to lay claim to professional fees of $47,821,920.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, had equally relied on the judgment to recommend payment to the company.
The NGF’s motion against Panic Alert Security Systems Ltd and Dr. George Uboh and others, was rooted on the grounds that the Federal High Court by virtue of Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution ( as amended), lacks jurisdiction to have entertained a matter that was founded on a simple contract.
However, dissatisfied with the recommendation of the AGF, the 36 State Governors through the NGF instructed its counsel, Ogbole, to challenge the said judgment.
By the ruling, all approvals by the AGF, the President, Minister of Finance, Accountant-General of the Federation, Debt-Management Office arising from, related to or concerning Panic Alert’s claims have been voided.
In addition, all promissory notes, cheques or any financial instrument issued by the Federal Government in favour of Panic Alert have been nullified and canceled and of no effect whatsoever.
In the suit, Panic Alert claimed it was purportedly contracted by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to review a 16-page judgment in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/130/2013, between Linas International LTD & 235 Ors. V. Federal Government of Nigeria & 3 Ors.
The company had claimed that it was entitled to $47,821,920, being consultancy fees which were never agreed or specified in any contract with the NGF.
Consequently, the firm filed a suit for breach of contract against the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.


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