Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said he was offered $80 million bribe to drop his objection to the settlement of the $418 million judgment debts owed by states and their local governments in securing the Paris Club refunds.
Fayemi noted on Monday that the fixers who approached him initially with $40 million raised the alleged bribe money to $80 million when he refused to accede to their request.
In an interview with Premium Times, the governor clarified that he still stood on his ground that there must be a forensic audit to determine the legitimacy of the entire $41 million judgment debts which translates to about N159 billion.
SaharaReporters had last Thursday reported that Fayemi was fingered in the ongoing grand financial fraud of $418 million judgment debts around the Paris Club Refund.
The six individuals and entities who served as contractors to some states and local governments to secure their Paris Club Refund and who are demanding over $418 million judgment debts from the government were the ones who alleged that Fayemi demanded 10% of the sum as a kickback.
It was also reported that already, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, are at the centre of the scandal, having forced the Central Bank of Nigeria to pay $350 million (about N133 billion) as part of the judgment debts – much of which was shared between them and the contractors.
SaharaReporters had exposed on Wednesday that the AGF and Gambari’s move to have the money paid was contrary to the NGF’s stance that the judgment debts should first be subjected to a probe – a request which President Buhari had acceded to.
Speaking in an interview, Fayemi stated that the claim of the contractors that he asked for a bribe from them was a blackmail to smear his image.
He said, “That allegation is not true. The allegation was sponsored to smear me and blackmail me to compromise my stand. The so-called creditors have rather been reaching out to me and sending emissaries to beg me to change my position on the matter.
“I was initially offered 10 per cent of the entire $418 million, which is about $40 million, to support the payment and I said no, this is not about me. Then the offer was raised to 20 per cent, which is about $80 million, but I still rejected it in the interest of justice and Nigerians.
“To be frank, I was alarmed that some persons sent to me could agree to discuss such an issue with me.
“I don’t have anything against the creditors. I believe we should carry out the forensic audit in the interest of justice. If after the audit, it is found out that they are legitimate debts, I will immediately support the payment. But we have to do what is right.”
The controversial debts had arisen from various court judgments ordering that some “contractors” and “consultants” be paid for certain services and projects executed for the various states and the 774 local governments.
Some of the claimants were said to be consultants said to have been engaged by the states and local governments to secure recovery of funds over-deducted from their allocations between 1995 and 2002 to service then London and Paris Club loans.
When contacted on why he did not report the attempt to bribe him to security agencies, Fayemi did not answer his calls and had yet to reply to a text message sent to his phone as of the time of filing this report.
His Chief Press Secretary, Mr Yinka Oyebode, also did not answer calls nor respond to inquiries by our reporter as of the time of this report.
SaharaReporters, New York