•Firm urges INTERPOL to reject Nigeria’s request to put officials under watch
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned two British nationals, James Richard Nolan and Adam Quinn (at large), before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, for their alleged complicity in the controversial $9.6billion arbitral award to Process and Industrial Developments (P & ID) Limited by a United Kingdom arbitration panel and confirmed by a London commercial court.
The defendants, both directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution (DNFI) and ICIL Limited, were arraigned on a 16 count-charge bordering on money laundering.
Count one of the charges read: “That you James Richard Nolan and Adam Quinn(at large), sometime in December 2013 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, being directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution(“DNFI”) aided the said company in failing to comply in the requirement of submitting to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments a declaration of the activities as specified under Section 5 (1)(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16 (2b) of the same Act”.
Another count reads: “That you Goidel Resources Limited, sometime in February 2014, at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Federal High Court being a Designated Non-Financial Institution (“DNFI”) failed to report in writing to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission a single lodgment of the sum of $125,000, in your account number 0154696732 domiciled in Guaranty Trust Bank Plc as specified under Section 10(1b) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 16(2b) of the same Act.”
After the charges were read to them, the defendants pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges, while Justice Abang struck out count nine of the charge on the grounds that “a court of law has no jurisdiction to entertain a charge against a non-registered person.”
The prosecuting counsel, Bala Sanga, asked the court for a trial date and an order to remand the defendants in prison custody.
However, defence counsel, Okwudili Anozie, moved an oral application for the bail of his clients. Sanga objected to the oral bail application.
“We object to the oral application of the defendant. We would be requesting an affidavit showing cause, why the bail should be granted,” he said.
After hearing argument of counsel, Justice Abang refused the oral application for the bail of the defendants and adjourned till November 20 and 21, 2019, for commencement of trial.
He ordered the remand of the defendants in prison custody, pending the consideration of their bail applications.
Meanwhile, P&ID has faulted the bid by the federal government to enlist the assistance of INTERPOL to put under watch individuals linked to the company.
The company, in an online statement yesterday, described the request as a farce.
“The Buhari administration’s purported plan to apply for an INTERPOL Red Notice against individuals linked to P&ID is a desperate and pathetic effort to stave off the almost $10 billion arbitration award owed to P&ID.
“The Buhari Administration’s Red Notice request is a total abuse of the INTERPOL system and should be rejected. There is zero basis in fact or law for the Buhari Administration’s action: this is purely a political ploy in Nigeria’s campaign to evade a legal judgment.
“The Buhari Administration’s request is founded solely on a totally unlawful and politically-motivated investigation that has fabricated evidence, coerced confessions, ignored due process, and has been conducted with blatant disregard for fundamental human rights.
“The Nigerian Government’s allegations have been consistently rejected in court: as a result, they are resorting to threats, bullying and legal nihilism. The application to INTERPOL is just more of the same: the use of violence and the organs of state power to threaten, detain, charge and jail innocent individuals linked to P&ID,” the statement added.