Leading litigator, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN has distanced himself from the controversial $418 million Paris Club judgement debt debacle, saying that he never authored any letter to the Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN on the matter.
In a letter dated September 9, 2021 and made available to CITY LAWYER, Gadzama pooh-poohed an online report claiming that he wrote a letter to Malami on behalf of Prince Ned Nwoko, describing it as “fallacious, malicious and self-serving.”
He added that “I was neither a part of any meeting where any resolution to write to your office was taken, nor did I author or sign any letter as claimed in the publication. Furthermore, the tone of the letter, with copious references to the Nigerian Governors’ Form and Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, is not in consonance with my temperament and style.”
Below is the full text of the letter.
Thursday, September 9, 2021.
The Honourable Attorney General of
the Federation and Minister of Justice,
Federal Ministry of Justice Complex,
Shehu Shagari Way
Central Business District,
RE: PARIS CLUB REFUND: OUR REACTION TO THE PERSISTENCE OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM (NGF) IN MISCHARACTERISING THE ISSUANCE OF PROMISSORY NOTES THEREBY FOSTERING FALSE NARRATIVES ABOUT THE LAUDABLE POLICY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO LIQUIDATE JUDGMENT DEBTS
My attention has been drawn to a publication captioned “Ned Nwoko Tackles Governors Over $418m Paris Club Refund” credited to one Kunle Olasanmi published on 8th September, 2021 in an online platform – leadership.ng wherein I was referenced in several paragraphs to have written a letter to your office, on behalf of Prince Ned Nwoko, as follows:
“…This is contained in a letter written by his team of lawyers led by Chief Joe Gadzama (SAN) to the Attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) over the $418 million judgment debts owed six individuals and entities who rendered services to states and their local governments on the payment of Paris Club debts…But in the letter to AGF Malami, Nwoko noted that “it is dishonest, deceitful and malicious for the governors to pretend that it is wrong to obey court orders,” Gadzama added. He said categories B and C comprise of judgment debts against Ministries Departments and MDAs worth approximately US$700 million. He drew the AGF’s attention to media reports quoting verbatim excerpts from a letter purportedly written by Lagos lawyer, Chief Femi Falana (SAN) on behalf of the NGF to the minister of Finance, Dr Zainab Ahmed, on enforcing court judgments by issuing promissory notes to the judgment creditors. Gadzama told Malami that his client, Nwoko, gave substantial concessions to the NGF and discounted the sum he is entitled to in the judgments being enforced. Gadzama said it was curious that NGF, through Falana, has either deliberately or for reasons they cannot fathom “persisted in pushing the grave error of not distinguishing between the two judgments of the court and thereby misinforming the public and stirring unnecessary controversy that politicizes the matter…”
The author of the article claims I wrote a letter to your office regarding the payment of fees to Mr. Ned Nwoko. I wish to put it on record that, although I am not averse to Prince Ned Nwoko and others collecting whatever fees they feel entitled to, I was neither a part of any meeting where any resolution to write to your office was taken, nor did I author or sign any letter as claimed in the publication. Furthermore, the tone of the letter, with copious references to the Nigerian Governors’ Form and Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, is not in consonance with my temperament and style.
I hereby urge you, Sir and the general public to disregard and discountenance the said publication and other similar publications as being fallacious, malicious and self-serving.
Please accept the assurances of our highest regards.
Joe-Kyari Gadzama, OFR, MFR, SAN, FNIALS, FICMC, DiplCArb, FCIArb, FNICArb, C.Arb.
(Of Lincolns Inn, Barrister/Life Bencher/Certified Mediator/Regulatory Consultant)
Sardauna of Uba, Okwuluora of Ukpo & Bobajiro of Akure Kingdom.
Founding Principal Partner
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