The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has vowed to prosecute the Nigerians who are linked with the contract that resulted in the judgment of the United Kingdom Court, which awarded a cumulative sum of $9 billion award in favour of a private firm, Process & Industrial Developments Limited.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami reportedly disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday, while unveiling his agenda on his first day of resumption at the Federal Ministry of Justice.
The Attorney General who questioned the sincerity of those behind the contract awarded in 2010, argued that it formed part of the inglorious legacies of past administrations, which this government is being made to grapple with.
According to Malami, contract of certain categories will be vetted by the Federal Ministry of Justice before it is signed by any Federal Government agency.
“Henceforth, financial institutions, linked with financial crimes, will be prosecuted along with the culprits.”
The backstory: Last week, A British court granted an Irish Firm, Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) the right to seize $9 billion in assets from the Nigerian Government over a failed gas project.
P&ID, an Irish Firm has been awarded $6.6 billion in an arbitration decision over a failed project to build a gas processing plant in the Southern Nigerian city of Calabar. With the accumulated interest payments, the sum now tops $9 billion, which amounts to 20% of Nigeria’s foreign reserves.
According to reports, the case dated back to 2010 under the administration of Nigeria’s former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. The Nigerian government had struck a deal with the Irish firm to supply gas to a processing plant built and run by P&ID in Calabar.
Specifically, the deal was supposed to span 20 years. However, the Nigerian government failed to keep its side of the agreement, prompting the firm to seek legal action against Nigeria.
CBN’s Stance: While reports have indicated that the $9 billion may be cut out from Nigeria’s foreign reserves, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also disclosed its readiness to defend the country’s reserves. The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele revealed this while speaking with State House correspondents at the retreat organised for ministers-designates in the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Monday.
According to Emefiele, there are on-going discussions with the CBN counsels, and the bank has been advised that there are sufficient and strong grounds for Nigeria to file a stay of execution and also an appeal to the judgment.