James Nolan, a British national, was re-arraigned at the Abuja division of the Federal High Court on Monday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside two others on an amended 32 count charge bordering on money laundering.
Nolan’s re-arraignment was because of his involvement in the controversial contract awarded to Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID), according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
Goidel Resource Limited was arraigned as the first defendant, ICIL Limited as second defendant and Mr Nolan as the third defendant.
What happened in court
At the resumed hearing on Monday, Ekele Iheanacho, counsel to EFCC made an oral application that the 32 count charges he filed on November 20, 2019, be read to defendants for their plea to be taken.
However, Nolan who is a director in the first and second defendants refused to take a plea for the companies of which he had already taken a plea for before justice Okon Abang in 2019. His lawyer also told the court that he was representing only Nolan and not the first and second defendants.
EFCC’s counsel then urged the court to enter a plea of non-guilty with respect to the counts affecting the 1st and 2nd defendants based on Section 478 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.
To the first and second defendants, a plea of not guilty was entered and Nolan also pleaded not guilty. Nolan’s lawyer, Micheal Ajara prayed the court to grant his client bail while Mr Iheanacho applied for a date for trial.
The presiding judge, Justice Donatus Okorowo, granted Nolan bail and adjourned the matter for December 13 for commencement of trial.
What you should know
P&ID, an Irish engineering company, 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 topped $9 billion.
P&ID sought compensation before a British court on the grounds that the Nigerian government had breached a 2010 gas contract agreement. The U.K court ruled that Nigeria should pay P&ID $9.6 billion.
The Nigerian government, in turn, appealed the British court ruling and secured an order delaying the execution of the court judgment.
The contract was said to have been signed by former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Maduekwe as a witness.
Nolan, a signatory to P&ID accounts was first arraigned on October 21, 2019, on a 16 count-charge of money laundering. However, In Nov 2019, he was granted a N500 million bail by justice Okon Abang who was the trial judge at that time.