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$9.6bn Scam: Court Winds Up P&ID, Orders Forfeiture Of Assets …As Nigeria’s Legal Team Meets In London, Moves For Revocation of Fine

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The Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, convicted and subsequently ordered the winding up of Process and Industrial Development Limited and its Nigerian affiliate, P&ID Nigeria Limited, for charges of fraud and tax evasion in respect of the contract leading to the recent controversial judgment of a British court empowering the firm to seize about $9.6billion worth of Nigerian assets.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in his judgment also ordered the forfeiture of “the assets and properties” of the two firms to the Nigerian government.
The judge made the orders shortly after the two firms, through their representatives, pleaded guilty to the 11 counts instituted against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Relying on provisions of Section 19(2) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011, and Section 10(2) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006, the court ordered the Federal Government to wind up the two firms and confiscate all their assets in the country.
While P&ID Limited incorporated in British Virgin Island was represented in the dock by its Commercial Director, Mohammad Kuchazi, P&ID Nigeria Limited was represented by Adamu Usman, who is also a lawyer.
Kuchazi was represented by his lawyer, Dandison Akurunwua, while Usman represented himself.
Both men pleaded guilty on behalf of the companies to all the 11 counts read to them before Justice Ekwo, yesterday.
They were accused of among others, fraudulently claiming to have acquired land from the Cross River State Government in 2010 for the gas supply project agreement which led to the $9.6billion judgment.
After the defendants pleaded guilty to the 11 counts, an EFCC investigator, Usman Babangida, was called to the witness box for review of facts which was not opposed by the defence.
Documents relating to the controversial 2010 gas supply contract and EFCC’s investigation activities were tendered and admitted by the judge as exhibits without objection from the defence.
The judge then went on to pronounce the two firms represented by the two men guilty.
Making an allocutus, plea for mercy, P&ID’s lawyer Akurunwua, urged the judge to consider “the forthrightness and candour” of P&ID by pleading guilty and not wasting the time of the court in the trial.
Meanwhile, with the trial and conviction of both the British Virgin Island and the Nigerian affiliate of Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) by a Federal High Court for fraud and corruption, Nigeria is set to present the United Kingdom Appeal Court handling the case, with a new set of pleading to revoke the monumental award against the country.
Beyond the conviction of the company, the Nigerian federal court also ordered the forfeiture of the assets of the company to the Federal Government.
Arising from the judgment, a consortium of Nigeria’s legal team is set to meet in London early next week with a view to reviewing the case and making an appropriate adjustment to its deposition towards the revocation of the award earlier granted by the court to the shadowy company, which has now been convicted.
It was learnt that with the conviction, Nigeria is likely going to argue before the court of appeal that the UK commercial and Arbitration Court was misled by the suspects to grant the huge award and should, therefore, be revoked given the new and better information that was unavailable to the country at the time.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, yesterday, confirmed that the legal team would be converging in London to review the case and take further steps to advance the cause of justice and Nigeria in the case, which has drawn global attention.
Malami said: “Nigeria is expected to review its strategy in view of the unfolding development as it relates to the conviction of some of the suspects that have admitted to fraud and corruption that gave rise to the award.
“The implication of today’s conviction of the suspects by the FHC in Nigeria is that Nigeria has a judicial proof of fraud and corruption as a foundation of the relationship that gave rise to a purported liability and arbitral award.
“From the available evidence, Nigeria now has a cogent ground to ask for the setting aside of the entire liability.

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PROBE: EFCC Should Stop Media Trial – Rivers State Government

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The Rivers State Government says its attention has been drawn to a fresh wave of media trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the officials of the state.

According  to a statement issued by the state Commissioner for information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, “the latest attempt contained in today’s edition( May 24,2020)of The Nation Newspaper alleged that the State Government has refused to release top officials for interrogation in connection to the withdrawal of N118 billion in cash between 2015 and 2018.

 

“We have repeatedly said that the State Government will not release its officials to the EFCC for investigations until the commission approaches the Court  to set aside Subsisting orders of perpetual  injunction granted by various courts of competent jurisdiction restraining the EFCC from investigating or inquiring into the financial transactions of the Rivers  State Government including its ministries, departments and  agencies.

 

“In view of these  Subsisting judgments, it would amount  to an act of brazen  illegality for the EFCC to  insist  on  interrogating  any official OF the Rivers State Government.
For the avoidance of doubt, no official of the Rivers State Government would appear before the EFCC until the subsisting judgments in favour of the Rivers State Government are set aside on appeal.

“Resorting to the Media can only be described as cheap blackmail and witch-hunt to turn away public attention from the development strides in the State.

“This media trial that they engage in all the time will not take the place of our extant laws no matter how hard they try.

“The EFCC should stop playing to the gallery and pursue its war against corruption within the ambits of the law.

 

“Rivers State Government is committed to the Rule of Law and cannot be intimidated by the EFCC.

“Those who want to use the EFCC to promote their political agenda in the State will fail because we know their antics.

“Targeting Rivers State for this occasional media trial should be seen by the public for what it is, “political witch-hunt,” the statement said.

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Rivers Records 27 New Coronavirus Cases …Manager Of Prodest Hotel Among The New Cases

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Rivers State has recorded 27 new positive coronavirus  cases.

A statement signed by the Rivers state Ministry of Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, disclosed that the Manager of Prodest Hotel, Eleme is among the new positive cases.

According to the statement, the latest development validates the State Government’s proactive approach towards the fight against COVID-19.

Recall that Prodest Hotel was demolished two weeks ago because the owners violated Executive Order 7 which banned the operation of hotels.

The COVID-19 Taskforce members from the Local Government who went to enforce the Executive Order were brutalized and dehumanised leading to the death of one of them.

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RIWAMA Sole Administrator Congratulates Hon (Mrs) Justice Suzzette Eberechi Nyesom-Wike On Her Birthday

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As the wife of Rivers State Governor, Hon. (Mrs) Justice Suzzette Eberechi Nyesom-Wike celebrates her birthday anniversary on Sunday, the Sole Administrator, Rivers State Waste Management Agency, RIWAMA, Bro. Felix Obuah has felicitated with the First Lady, describing her as a rare gift to the State, Nigeria and the world at large.
Bro. Obuah in a congratulatory message also described Hon. (Mrs) Justice Suzzette Nyesom-Wike as a simple, loving, caring and trustworthy mother who has remained a pillar of strength to her husband in the task of administering the State.
He lauded the Governor’s wife for her steadfastness and being a role model for women, noting that her wonderful virtues are worthy of emulation.
While stressing that behind a successful man, there is a good wife, the RIWAMA Sole Administrator added that the blessed companionship of the First Lady and her husband has contributed in no small measure in navigating the ship of Rivers State into a glorious era.
His words: “As you mark your birthday today, I bring you best wishes and good tidings from my beloved wife and family, as well as workers of the Rivers Waste Management Agency, RIWAMA, who are appreciative of all that you are doing to advance the cause and dignity of Rivers people”.
Bro. Obuah prayed that the birthday would bring to the Governor’s wife, an extra share of everything that would make her the happiest in life.
The RIWAMA Sole Administrator further prayed God to grant the Rivers First Lady long and prosperous life for the overall benefit of the State and to the glory of God.
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