The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has on Friday, September 20, arraigned former Director, Legal Services of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Grace Taiga for allegedly being linked to the controversial Gas Supply Project Agreement (GSPA), which led to the $9.6 billion judgment awarded against Nigeria by a British court.
The former petroleum director was arraigned after a Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo, convicted P&ID Limited incorporated in British Virgin Island, and its affiliate, P&ID Nigeria Limited, on charges of fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, and other sundry offences.
Taiga, who would be arraigned before the Apo Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on eight counts, was said to have signed as Nigeria’s witness to the GSPA while the then minister presiding over the ministry, the late Dr. Rilwan Lukman, signed as Nigeria’s representative.
Taiga has hired a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to defend her and has been produced in the courtroom presided by Justice Olukayode Adeniyi. When she was arraigned, Taiga pleaded not guilty to the charges instituted against her.
Among other charges, the prosecution accused Talga of receiving bribe through her offshore bank account, signing alongside the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, the late Rilwan Lukman, the Gas Supply Processing Agreement between the Process and Industrial Developments Limited and the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Ministry on January 11, 2019.
The Backstory: As earlier reported by Nairametrics in recent articles, P&ID was 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.
The firm had initiated moves to identify the Nigerian assets that could be seized and it might include the country’s oil cargoes.