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Published On: Tue, Mar 25th, 2014

Sovereign Wealth Fund: FG, states fail to settle out of court

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By Sunday Ejike Benjamin

The Supreme Court was told yesterday that a planned out-of-court settlement of the lingering dispute over the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) between the federal and state governments had failed.

The federal government, which revealed this development to the apex court through its Counsel, Austin Alegeh (SAN), said the proposed amicable resolution earlier agreed with the 36 state governors over the legality of the Excess Crude Accounts had broken down for the second time.

The government had earlier agreed that the dispute involving the transfer of $1 billion from SWF would be settled out of the precincts of court.

Consequently, the apex court fixed September 23, 2014 for hearing of the application brought by the defendant seeking to amend its statement of defence.

The 36 states of the Federation had dragged the federal government to court praying it to decide whether the states have share in the SWF.

The Supreme Court had earlier granted a request by the parties to explore an amicable resolution of the disagreement.

But at the resumed hearing yesterday, Alegeh (SAN) told the court that settlement between parties has collapsed, and in view of that he was filing an application praying the court to amend his statement of defence.

Alegeh further prayed the court to order the plaintiffs to furnish him with their amended statement of claims to enable him amend his statement of defence.

Arguing on behalf of Counsel to the 36 state governors, Yusuf Alli (SAN) did not oppose the application.

The plaintiffs in the suit are seeking an order of court compelling the federal government to pay into the Federation Account N5.51 trillion being the balance of the money that accrued to the central purse between 2004 and 2007 from the proceeds of crude oil sales, petroleum profits tax and oil royalties.

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