An Abuja-based legal practitioner, Dr Adewole Adebayo, on Tuesday debunked Femi Falana’s (SAN) allegations of extortion of foreigners resident in Nigeria by a firm, saying it was false.
He said that the company, Continental Transfer Technique Limited (CTTL), was the service provider and sole financier of Combined Expatriate Residence Permits and Alien Cards (CERPAC) project, in Nigeria.
Adebayo said that Mr Falana had on Jan. 29, in a letter to the Minister of Finance, alleged that CTTL was a foreign consultant to the Ministry of Interior on the execution of CERPAC.
He also said that the allegations that public funds were being diverted through extortion of foreigners resident in Nigeria were false.
According to the lawyer, who is solicitor to CTTL, not only is there no single diversion of funds, the possibility is too remote to be rationally considered.
“Not only is there no foreigner involved in the running of the CERPAC project, there has been no single consultant involved in the project since it started in 1999.
“There is no violation of the Central Bank Act or Presidential Executive Order or FGN policy on TSA.
“No private company, including our client, is authorised under CERPAC project contract to collect any fee or money on behalf of the government.
“Collection of revenue is not one of the functions of our client under the CERPAC agreement,” he said.
Adebayo challenged Falana to prove the allegations publicly, adding that he would resign as CTTL’s solicitor if the SAN could prove his allegations.
On the allegation of CTTL being a foreign firm, he said that the company was wholly-owned and managed by Nigerians, with a citizen of Borno as chairman.
He also stated that the contract that engaged his client had been in existence since 1999, adding that the contract passed through series of scrutiny by successive administrations and had been commended.
“We urge the Honourable Minister to discountenance the letter Falana and uphold the policy of government in the smooth implementation of the CERPAC project.
“Our client has wholly financed and provided infrastructure and continues to service, maintain and update CERPAC Centre in every state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory,” he added.
Falana had in his letter to the Minister of Finance, alleged that public funds were being diverted by CTTL through extortion of foreigners resident in Nigeria.
He also alleged that the firm was Indian-owned, contracted by the Ministry of Interior for the CERPAC project contrary to all known laws in Nigeria.
According to the SAN, out of the huge revenue realised from the payment of CERPAC fee, only 30 per cent of it is paid to the government at the rate of N306 per dollar.
“The foreign consultants are allowed to pocket the remaining 70 per cent,’’ he added.