President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an immediate probe of past administrations over the $9 billion (N3.5 trillion) debt judgment involving Nigeria and British Firm – Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID).
The disclosure was just made at a joint press briefing in Abuja by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed alongside the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
The details: President Buhari ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the National Intelligence Agency( NIA) and the Inspector-General of Police to probe the criminal conspiracy behind the failed contract.
While delivering the President’s Speech, the Minister for Information and Culture disclosed that the decision was based on the fact that the Federal Government suspected foul play in the contract which was negotiated and signed in 2010.
Muhammed stated the following;
“We have invited you here today to brief you on the recent judgment of a UK Court authorizing Process and Industrial Developments Ltd. (P&ID) to seize 9.6 billion dollars in Nigerian assets, over a contract entered into by the company and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in 2010.
“We want to place on record that the Federal Government views with serious concerns the underhanded manner in which the contract was negotiated and signed. Indications are that the whole process was carried out by some vested interests in the past administration, which apparently colluded with their local and international conspirators to inflict grave economic injury on Nigeria and its people.
“In view of the above, and in an attempt to unravel the circumstances surrounding the entire transaction, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, with the approval of Mr President, has requested the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the National Intelligence Agency and the Inspector General of Police to conduct a thorough investigation into the company, the circumstances surrounding the agreement and the subsequent event, which includes commencing a full-scale criminal investigation.”
Nigerian assets’ Seizure: Meanwhile, the Presidency has also dismissed the impending seizure of Nigerian assets. Recall, in a document released on Monday by a section of the media, the firm hinted it has initiated moves to identify assets to can seize belonging to Nigeria.
Addressing the development, Muhammed stated that Nigeria was not about to lose any of its assets. The minister added:
“Despite the recent recognition of the award by a UK court, and contrary to some reports, Nigeria is not about to lose any of its assets to P&ID. There is no imminent threat to Nigeria’s assets!
“In the first instance, the enforcement of the award cannot even commence now because the judge in the UK court ordered that the P&ID cannot enforce the judgment against Nigeria until after the court resumes from its current vacation.
“What this means is that enforcement action cannot begin until a further hearing on the matter, which will take place on a date to be determined by the court upon its resumption.
“The Federal Government, therefore, wishes to use this opportunity to assure Nigerians that there is no immediate threat to Nigeria’s assets as has been wrongly interpreted by a section of the media.
Nairametrics learned that the probe may cover both the former President Good luck Jonathan’s administration and his predecessor – Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
Commenting on the development at the press briefing, the Minister of Finance, stated that the judgment cannot stand as this constitutes about N3.5trillion.