February 25, 2021
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The Principal Partner of Femi Kehinde and Co, Hon Femi Kehinde, has asked the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice and the Minister of Finance to halt the disbursement of liquidation of judgment debts on behalf of Federal Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs), states and Local Governments to avoid contempt of court.

Kehinde had last year, sued Ned Nwoko’s law firm, the Oyo State government, Nigerian Governors’ Forum, the Accountant General of the Federation, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ministry of Finance and four others over the refusal of the law firm to pay 40 per cent of the sum of the N1 billion paid to it by the Oyo State government, through the Incorporated Trustees of Nigerian Governor’s Forum.

In the suit slated for March 18, 2021, for hearing, the plaintiff had also asked the court to restrain the Oyo State government, Nigerian Governors’ Forum and three others from making any payment as it relates to professional or consultancy fees in respect to foreign loan recovery.

Hon Kehinde, in a letter to the AGF written on his behalf by his counsel, Bola Aidi said, the finance minister, by a letter dated December 14, 2020, intends to pay some amount as the consultancy fee to Hon Chinedu Nwoko and that the issue is the basic subject matter in his suit before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

He begged the AGF to use his good office to stop the payment in the interest of justice or, in the alternative that the money is paid into the account of the court pending the determination of the matter.

In the letter dated January 18 and received by the office of the AGF on January 27, Hon Kehinde said he had also written to the Finance Minister to stall payment to Hon. Nwoko or any of his agent, adding that any payment would amount to contempt of court and will defeat the purpose of the matter before the court.

He reminded the finance minister in his letter that in the suit numbered, FHC/ABJ/CS/212/2920, which the ministry is also a defendant that he (Kehinde) is seeking to recover the sum of N420 million due to him as a professional fee in accordance with the agreement between him and Ned Nwoko Solicitor for acting as a local solicitor for the Oyo state loan recovery.

The letter said there is a lis pendens (pending suit) against Hon Chinedu Nwoko, the 3rd defendant in the suit bordering on the matter of the same consultancy fees.

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“As you are aware, a nation can only make progress where the rule of law is obeyed and any attempt to foist a fait accomplish on the judicial process is tantamount to undermining the judiciary “, he said and requested that the disbursement of the said sum be put on hold pending the determination of his suit, as any payment made in defiance of the pending g suit would amount to payment in contempt of the court.

Hon. Femi Kehinde had, in a Writ of Summons prayed the court to order Ned Nwoko Solicitors to pay him, “The sum of N400 million, being 40 per cent of the N1 billion (1st tranche) paid to the 1st defendant (Ned Nwoko Solicitors) as legal fees for services rendered by same as it relates to Oyo State government for the recovery of foreign debts.”

Plaintiff also prayed the court for an order compelling Ned Nwoko law firm to pay him N20 million, representing 40 per cent of a consent judgment as well as another £159, 098, 00 as expenses incurred for prosecuting an arbitration in a London Court.

He also wants the court to order the 5th to 10th defendants in the suit to pay him 40 per cent of all the subsequent tranches of the professional fees due to the 1st to 4th defendants on the Oyo State foreign debts recovery or deduction from the Local Governments in Oyo State and for the court to order the defendants to pay him N20 million for prosecuting the suit, among other prayers.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

Foreign debts recovery: AGF, finance minister urged to stop contempt of court

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