A Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja has fixed Feb. 14, 2022, for the commencement of the trial of a British national, James Nolan, over money laundering allegations involving the controversial multi-billion dollar contract awarded to Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID).
Justice Donatus Okorowo fixed the date follwing the valedictory court session held on Monday in honour of the former Chief Judge of FHC, late Adamu Abdu-Kafarati.
Nolan, the 3rd defendant, was re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Okorowo on an amended 32-count charge on October 18 this year.
He was re-arraigned alongside the two companies, Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution (DNFI), and ICIL Limited, listed as 1st and 2nd defendants respectively.
The re-arraignment followed the transfer of the former trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, to the Warri division of the court early in the year.
The EFCC lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho, and the defence lawyer, Michael Ajare, agreed to come back on February 14 and February 15, 2022 for the continuation of the trial.
Justice Okorowo adjourned the matter for trial commencement.
On November 21, 2019, the anti-graft agency re-arraigned Nolan, along with his co-accused person, Adam Quinn (who is still at large), who was first docked on Ocober 21, 2019, on a 16-count charge of money laundering.
The defendants are both directors of the two companies allegedly used for money laundering. Nolan is also said to be a signatory to P&ID accounts.
P&ID was said to have approached a British court to seek compensation, claiming the Nigerian government breached a 2010 gas contract agreement to build gas processing facilities around Calabar, Cross River State.
Under the contract, the Nigeria government was required to supply wet gas of up to 400 million cubic feet daily.
Although the court initially granted the firm an arbitral award of $6.6 billion, the figure has since risen to about $9 billion, with an additional $2.3 billion in accumulated interest at seven percent rate per annum, after Nigeria refused to enter an appeal for more than five years after the original ruling.
The Nigerian government had appealed the British court ruling and secured an order delaying the execution of the court judgment.
The government described the contract as fraudulent, accusing parties, including the Nigerian officials who signed for Nigeria, of attempting to defraud the country.
The contract was said to have been signed by Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who has various corruption cases against her.
She is currently in London where she is being investigated for money laundering.
A former petroleum ministry official who signed the contract as a witness is also being prosecuted. (NAN)