Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) has disclosed that Nigerian delegation has left to the United Kingdom to discuss with legal team on strategies dealing with the recent development regarding the P&ID contract judgment.
According to the minister “all cards are on table but it all depends on the beneficial that has potency for setting aside the award having regard to the applicable law in the circumstances.”
The minister was shedding light on the recent development as to whether the Nigerian delegation leaving for UK was to file a new case based on the new realities that the contract or would build on the previous judgment.
Malami said no possibility is ruled out including “possibility of filling new case and or using existing proceedings to seek relief of setting aside the award (of the contract) cannot be ruled out.”
The minister had earlier disclosed that in an attempt to prove that the contract was fraudulent from conception, one of the issues to be decided was 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.
He listed other issues to be resolved to include 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.
He also wondered in whose interest the critical 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, and why the NNPC, NPDC and IOCs, who were to have supplied the gas component of the agreement not made parties to it.
The minister 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.
Earlier last week, an Irish firm, Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID), which got a $9.6 billion judgment against Nigeria over an aborted gas project, was on Friday wound up.
The Federal High Court in Abuja convicted it for fraud and tax evasion after it pleaded guilty.
The court also ordered the winding-up of the firm’s affiliate, P&ID Nigeria Limited.
Both firms are to forfeit their assets to the Federal government.
The company was awarded $6.6 billion in an arbitration decision following a failed 2010 project to build a gas-processing plant in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
With interest, the sum is now over $9 billion, which is about 20 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign reserves.
Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami (SAN) had vowed to prosecute those involved in the controversial deal.
The firms pleaded guilty before Justice Inyang Ekwo to an 11-count charge of fraud and tax evasion.
The charges were filed against the firms by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on behalf of the Federal Government.
This followed the firms’ unlawful conduct in relation to the controversial Gas Supply Project Agreement (GSPA).
An arbitration tribunal in London slammed $9.6billion damages on Nigeria.
The firms were accused of fraudulently claiming to have acquired land from the Cross River State government in 2010 for the GSPA.
The two companies were represented in court by Mohammad Kuchazi, identified as Commercial Director, P&ID Ltd, Virgin Island, and Adamu Usman.