By Ejiofor Alike
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has alleged that ongoing investigation has revealed that about $301 million was given as underhand dealings to some persons in a bid to hide the illegality of the Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID) Limited’s gas supply and processing deal.
Speaking last night on a live television programme, Malami stated that the latest ruling of a court in the United Kingdom, overturning a $9.6 billion judgment awarded against it, is a result of the progress made from the investigation.
The AGF stated that some principal characters that were investigated have been arraigned and convictions recorded.
He added that within the government, some retired members of staff were alleged to have benefitted from the deal, insisting that the investigation will reveal their level of involvement.
“As much as I wouldn’t want to be pre-emptive, the fact still remains that at the local level, some of the principal characters were being investigated, and some were not only investigated but were arraigned and then there were certain convictions recorded.
“Within the official cycles of government, some have retired, and they are being alleged to have been involved in underhand dealing as it relates to within the region of $301 million.
“The investigation has re-affirmed the fact that there were certain underhand dealings to the tune of $301 million,” Malami stressed.
The Justice minister added that the federal government is still carrying out more investigations beyond the shores of the country because further findings show that the contract, which was signed in 2010, did not follow due diligence.
“There were arraignments, there were convictions and indeed, monies were established to change hands as a basis for inducement that eventually resulted into compromises on processes, compromises on the procedure and then, failure on the part of the officials of government to do the needful in terms of ensuring that the interest of the nation is protected.
“The due diligence relating to P&ID was not adequately undertaken as at the time of signing the agreement, but arising from the investigation, we have taken time to conduct and expand our investigative capacity to other jurisdiction inclusive of the US and there is nothing establishing greater financial strength capacity on the part of P&ID right from the onset either in Nigeria and the Virgin Island.”
Giving a further breakdown of the contract, Malami maintained that the agreement was not allowed to pass through the office of the Attorney General, while associated approvals and permits were not obtained from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
He stated that the arbitral proceeding claiming that Nigeria should pay P&ID $6.6 billion as damages, as well as pre- and post-judgment interest at seven per cent, amounting to $9.6billion judgment plus interest, is a result of fraud and corruption.