A Nigerian legal team has left for the United Kingdom to discuss with lawyers in the UK on strategies to adopt to stave off the $9.6bn judgment debt procured by the Irish company Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) against Nigeria, over a failed gas contract.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), disclosed this Sunday night in an update on the nightmarish judgement given by a UK commercial court judge.
‘’All cards are on the table but it all depends on (which is) beneficial, that has potency for setting aside the award, having regards to the applicable law in the circumstances.”
Malami said no possibility was ruled out including, “possibility of filing new case or using existing proceedings to seek relief of setting aside the award of the contract cannot be ruled out.’’
The minister had earlier raised posers about the company and the contract:
*Why the P&ID did not have its own office address at the time of signing the agreement but opted to use the contact address of a law firm.
*Why the contract was not passed to the Ministry of Justice for vetting if there was record of any capital flow as a result of the contract and why the contract was not taken to the Federal Executive Council for approval.
*In whose interest the gas contract was awarded and what it was meant to achieve
*Why the centre of arbitration was taken to London, and not Nigeria, a sovereign nation,
*Why the NNPC, NPDC and IOCs, who were to have supplied the gas component of the agreement were not made parties to it.
Malami insisted that the Federal government would not compromise the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians under any guise.
“I want to state clearly that the Nigerian government will not sell out the interest of the country and the Nigerian people in order to satisfy some elements who are consciously out to extort the Nigerian people for their selfish aggrandisement.
“It is to be noted that while we are willing and ready to negotiate and meet the terms of agreements reached with all genuine investors which have done business or are still doing business with Nigeria on mutually beneficial terms, we will not allow fraudulent local and foreign collaborators to rip off the resources of Nigeria for no just cause in order to be seen as being nice or ‘investor-friendly,” he said.
Last week a court in Abuja wound up the British Virgin Island registered P&ID, following its conviction for fraud and tax evasion.
The court also ordered the winding-up of the firm’s affiliate, P&ID Nigeria Limited.
Two Nigerian directors of the company Mohammed Kuchazi and Adamu Usman were also convicted by Justice I. E. Ekwo of Federal High Court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja.
Kuchazi and Usman were arraigned on an 11-count charge, bordering on obtaining by false pretence; dealing in petroleum products without appropriate licence; money laundering and failure to register P&ID with the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) as required by law, amounting to economic sabotage against the Nigerian state.
On Friday, Mrs. Grace Taiga, a female accomplice in the mega fraud, was remanded in Suleja Prison, on the orders of Justice O.A. Adeniyi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Apo, Abuja.
Mrs.Taiga, a former director, Legal Services in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources was a key actor in the fraudulent Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) between the federal government and P&ID. She is alleged to have used her position to administer undue favours to the company.
She was arraigned on an eight-count amended charges, bordering on accepting bribes and other related crimes.