By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The federal government on Thursday rose in vehement opposition to the application for bail variation by a British citizen, James Nolan, standing trial over his alleged link with an Irish firm, Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) currently locked in international law suit with Nigeria.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Nolan and Adam Quinn (at large), both British nationals, on October 21, over their alleged complicity in the 9.6 billion dollars judgment debt against Nigeria.
The defendants, both directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution and ICIL Limited, were arraigned on a 16-count charge bordering on money laundering, tax evasion amongst others.
However the EFCC had last week amended the charges to 32 counts.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was admitted to bail by trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, in the sum of N500m and a surety in like sum, who must fulfil other conditions which the defendant considered very stringent.
Responding to Nolan’s bail variation application, EFCC counsel, Bala Sanga, said that the commission was against Nolan’s plea for bail variation because of the peculiar circumstances of the case.
“I apply for a shift in the date to take our arguments, My Lord, in order to enable us to file a counter-affidavit in response to further affidavit served on us less than 24 hours before the court sitting.
“We were serve about 2pm yesterday,” he said.
The prosecution counsel, therefore, prayed the court to give him some days to file his counter-affidavit on Nolan’s request.
Defendant’s lawyer, Chris Ezugwu, who acknowledged serving the fresh application on Sanga the previous day, objected to the EFCC’s plea for adjournment.
Justice Abang however, adjourned proceeding till December 6, for further hearing of the application.
He said the move became necessary in the interest of justice.
Sanga said that the prosecution was opposed to the court making the conditions of bail lighter because there are some documents from Nigeria Immigration Service that are indicative of the fact that Nolan committed immigration quota trafficking and possibly could be illegal alien.
The EFCC’s lawyer stressed that if granted the request, Nolan might jump bail.
Justice Abang had on November 7, admitted Nolan to a bail in the sum of N500m.
The judge, who granted the bail in an application filed by Nolan, ordered that the applicant must produce a surety in like sum, who must be a Nigerian and a serving senator not standing any criminal trial in any court in Nigeria.
Besides, he held that the proposed surety must submit a three years tax clearance certificate and sign an undertaking to always be present in court with the defendant throughout the duration of the trial.
“The senator must have a landed property fully developed in Maitama District of Abuja and fully certified by the FCDA.
”The surety must submit two passport photographs,” Abang had ruled.
Likewise, the court ordered the defendant to surrender all his international passports, even as it mandated the Nigerian Immigration Service to confirm how many passports that were issued to him within the past 20 years.
P&ID had secured a whopping $9.6 billion judgment against Nigeria over alleged failure to execute a 20-year Gas Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA) the company had with the federal government.