Federal High Court orders P&ID to forfeit assets to Nigeria
Two directors of P&ID pleaded guilty to 11 charges bordering on economic sabotage, money laundering, tax evasion, abuse of office, and other offences.
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja has ordered the forfeiture of assets belonging to Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) to the Federal Government of Nigeria, after two directors of the company pleaded guilty to an 11-count charge. The suit was filed following an arbitral award of $9 billion granted against Nigeria by an English Commercial Court on 16th of August, 2019, in favour of P&ID.
The two directors of P&ID, Muhammad Kuchazi and Adamu Usman, pleaded guilty today to all the 11 charges levelled against them by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The charges border on economic sabotage, money laundering, tax evasion, abuse of office, and other offences.
“An order is hereby made that the assets of Process and Industrial Development company be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” Justice Inyang Ekwo ruled. “An order is hereby made for the second convict to be round up and his properties and assets forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The suit filed by the EFCC was part of the federal government's efforts to challenge the ruling of the British court allowing P&ID to seize Nigeria's assets abroad of equivalent value to the arbitral award. The award was based on what P&ID claimed it would have earned from the aborted 20-year gas supply and processing agreement (GSPA) the Nigerian government signed with P&ID in 2010.
Under the terms of the agreement, P&ID was expected to build a gas processing facility in Cross Rivers State to refine wet gas, while the government was to build the gas supply pipeline to supply the wet gas to the facility.
The British Virgin Islands-registered P&ID commenced arbitration proceedings in 2012, claiming that the Nigerian government violated the terms of the agreement by failing to build the pipeline. The company claimed it had spent $40 million on preparatory work for the project and sought compensation for loss of potential income for the 20-year duration of the agreement. The government has vowed to appeal the legal judgement and also prosecute any of its officials whose lack of tact or possible maleficence may have led to the judgement.
The ruling by Justice Ekwo is expected to strengthened the government's hand in appealing the London court’s decision.
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