P&ID: Nigeria Appeals $200m Order, Abuja Trial Begins
Nigeria has appealed an order to pay $200m to a British court for a stay of execution in the $9.6bn award in favour of Process and Industrial Development Limited, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has said.
This came as the trial of a British national, James Nolan, before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja continued on Wednesday with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission presenting its first witness against the defendant.
The P& ID, a private firm set up to carry out a gas project with the West African country under a 2010 contract, won a $6.6bn arbitration award after the deal collapsed. The award has been accruing interest since 2013 and is now worth $9.6bn.
A Reuters report on Wednesday which quoted Malami as confirming the appeal recalled that in September, Justice Christopher Butcher of the Commercial Court in London gave Nigeria permission to seek to overturn the ruling that had been in favour of the P&ID, which was established by two Irish nationals with little experience in oil and gas.
The $200m payment was the court’s condition for granting Nigeria the stay of execution on the $9.6bn judgment.
The Federal Government is also optimistic of demanding a refund of $250,000 it was asked to pay to the P &ID should the appeal succeed.
“We have appealed against the payment,” Malami said the in Abuja on Wednesday.
He, however did not say when the appeal was lodged or what the court’s response had been.
Malami also denied reports that Nigeria had sacked its team of lawyers.
“The lawyers are not sacked,” he said, but added new lawyers might be used since the focus of the case had shifted from appealing the ruling to proving that there had been an error.
He said this did not mean the previous legal team would be replaced.
“We may decide to bring on board a new set of lawyers to handle the new brief, but then we may decide that the old and new lawyers should work together,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nolan and Adam Quinn (at large), who are directors in Goidel Resources Limited, a designated non-financial institution and ICIL Limited are facing a 16-count money laundering charge before Justice Abang in relation to the $9.6bn P&ID gas contract scam.
The EFCC had already secured the liquidation of the company and conviction of some of its management staff.
During Wednesday’s proceeding, prosecution counsel E. Iheanacho made available two prosecution witnesses. But only one was able to testify and was cross-examined.
The witness, Adewale Agunbiade, an account officer with Guarantee Trust Bank, Abuja, who handled the opening of the accounts for the companies, told the court that he knew the defendant and was familiar with the names of Goidel Resources Ltd and ICIL Ltd.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, the witness said, “We received a request to provide the account opening document from the EFCC and the statement of account on August 2019.
“We had the account opening document retrieved from our archives and the statements were generated. We forwarded it to our compliance team to deliver to the EFCC.”
The EFCC in a statement said the documents were admitted in evidence by the court and marked Exhibit A and Exhibit B1 to B84.
Giving insight into financial transactions on the account, the witness told the court that $125,000 was credited to the account of Goidel Resources Ltd by Nolan on February 1, 2016 through account number 0154696732, adding that on February 13, 2018, there was a transfer of $120,000 from the LIR Resources Nigeria Ltd to Goidel Resources.
The case was adjourned until Thursday.
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