By Ese Awhotu
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, Abuja, for their alleged complicity in the controversial $9.6bn arbitral award to Process and Industrial Development Limited by a United Kingdom commercial court.
The defendants, both directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution (DNFI) and ICIL Limited, were docked 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”.
Count two 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 ( One Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand, Dollar only), 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 charges 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. Mr 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 to 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.
P&ID had approached the court to seek compensation claiming the Nigeria government breached a 2010 gas contract agreement. The government had hired P&ID to build gas processing facilities around Calabar, Cross River. According to the contract, the government was required to supply wet gas of up to 400 million cubic feet daily.
The court initially granted the firm an arbitral award of $6.6 billion. But the figure rose to about $9 billion with an additional $2.3 billion in accumulated interest at 7 per cent rate, after Nigeria refused to enter an appeal for more five years after the original ruling.
The court initially granted the firm an arbitral award of $6.6 billion. But the figure rose to about $9 billion with an additional $2.3 billion in accumulated interest at 7 percent.
It would be recalled that the United Kingdom (UK) Commercial and Arbitration Court had last month granted a stay of execution of the earlier judgment asking the Nigerian government to pay the sum of $9.6 billion to Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) over a failed Gas Supply and Processing Agreement.
The court, however, asked Nigeria to pay $200 million as security fee for the stay of the execution pending the hearing and determination of the appeal it has lodged against the judgment.
The court had earlier granted leave to Nigeria to appeal the judgment.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who was the leader of the Nigerian legal team to London, confirmed the development