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S’Court insists on political end to sovereign wealth’s dispute – Guardian

| May 12, 2013 More

CONCEDING to the Federal Government the last chance to resolve the case on the Sovereign Wealth Fund Account amicably, the Supreme Court in Abuja Thursday held that the dispute was political and would better be resolved out-of-court.

The apex court expressed this view while speaking to the Federal Government’s legal team led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) when the matter came up.

But the panel, presided over by Justice Walter Ononghen who led six other justices, said that the court would have no choice than to proceed with hearing the case should the Federal Government fail to take advantage of the out-of-court settlement option for the last time.

The action, instituted by the 36 state governors against the Federal Government, was consequently adjourned indefinitely to allow the two parties reach a compromise on the matter.

Lead counsel to the state governors, Chief Adegboyega Solomon Awomolo (SAN), had accused the Federal Government of foot-dragging on out-of-court settlement proposals by the two parties.

He told the apex court that a committee put in place by the two parties had met and prepared the terms of settlement which he alleged were not implemented by the Federal Government for reasons best known to it.

But Chief Olanipekun said substantial progress had been made on the issue and a little more time was still needed for conclusion.

At Thursday’s proceeding, the parties agreed that a case first instituted since 2006 by Bauchi State would be used to determine the rest and that the Supreme Court’s decision on it would be binding on other states.

The apex court also agreed that a motion seeking to further amend the statement of claims by the state governors would be heard on December 2, 2013.

At the last mention and after months of intense horse-trading between the Federal Government and governors of the 36 states of the federation on the possibility of reaching a consensus over plans by the Federal Government to transfer $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account to a new account to be known as the “Sovereign Wealth Fund,” the parties had told the Supreme Court that the out-of-court settlement option failed to yield any dividend.

A seven-man panel of justices of the apex court, presided over by Justice Chukwuma Eneh, had slated Thursday to commence definite hearing on the constitutional issues raised against the proposed new account by the 36 state governors.

The governors had in a suit they filed before the apex court on October 23, 2011 sought an order declaring the planned creation of the “Sovereign Wealth Fund” as unconstitutional.

Category: Bauchi State News

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