The Federal Government has linked the contract which led to a judgment debt of $9.6billion(N3.5trillion) by the UK to the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan. The President has now 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, stating that the judgment cannot stand as the contractor, Process and Industrial Developments Ltd. (P&ID) did not execute the contract
The government made the clarifications at a joint briefing in Abuja by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. 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.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed said:
“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 will quickly run you through the issues at stake as well as what the Nigerian government is doing to stave off any seizure of its assets. We do hope that by the time we conclude this briefing, the media would have been better informed on the whole issue, hence will be better placed to inform Nigerians and clear the misrepresentations in certain circles.
“The judgment that was delivered on Friday, 16 August 2019 is a fallout of the contract purportedly entered into in 2010 between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and P&ID. Please note that in the 20-year Gas Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA) purportedly entered into with the P&ID in 2010, the company never performed as agreed.”
Justice minister, Malami said the ” contract was designed ab initio to fail and requires a full-scale investigation into the contract”
“My colleague, the Hon. Minister of Information and Culture has captured the background relating to the contract that gave rise to the award in contention. And he has indeed intimated that the president has indeed directed that full-scale investigation should be carried out relating to the circumstance that gave rise to the contract in its own right, and the eventual award as well.
On her part, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, said:
“This matter that has brought us here today is a very, very weighty one.
“An award of $9.6 billion is equivalent to N3.5 trillion. N3.5 trillion in our annual budget will be covering for us the personnel cost which is about N3.2 trillion and some.
“So this award is unreasonable, excessive and exorbitant. It is also unfair and it is an assault on each and every Nigerian.
The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, in his report said there is no evidence to show that a foreign company who came into this country deserved to be awarded $9.6 billion without investing a cent in Nigeria. The CBN Governor said P&ID “did not invest one cent into this country and challenged the firm to show proof.”
“We have heard and also read in some media that P&ID or the contractor, in this case, had mentioned that it had invested close to about $40 million in the project.
“On our part as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), we note that P&ID is a foreign company. As a foreign company, if you are investing either in a contract or a project in Nigeria, there are various options you will adopt in bringing in your investment.
“If you are bringing in capital, in which case you are bringing in the money, you will fill form A and you will also collect a certificate of capital importation.
“If you are bringing in machine or assets to execute your contract, then, in this case, you will fill form M and also collect a certificate of capital importation to prove that you actually brought in money.
“We have gone through our records, we do not have any information in our records to show that this company brought in one cent into this country and we have accordingly written to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), and the Intelligence Department of the Nigeria Police that is currently investigating this matter.
“I think just following from what the honorable Minister for Finance and Budget and Planning had said, the time has come when Nigerians must rise against the incidence of people alleging to be doing a contract in Nigeria without investing a penny, all with an intention to defraud our country.
“The money that they want to take is our own commonwealth that belongs to all of us. It is very sad that you will find some Nigerian collaborators with some foreign interest under bourgeois intentions trying to defraud this country.
“If they have proof of their investment, we are calling on them to please come forward and provide us proof of how they invested money in this project.
“You have heard the Attorney-General talking about the fact that it was a contract that was meant to fail ab-Initio from the beginning and I think, we read even some Nigerian media organizations castigating and said Nigeria should pay.
“This is time for us to be patriotic and rise. If you find a fault in what Nigerian, a governor, a minister or anybody has done stand up and say it but not for you to collaborate and begin to join forces with people who want to defraud the country.
“I am saying from our part as Central Bank of Nigeria, we do not have any information in our records, no evidence to show that a foreign company who came into this country deserved to be awarded $9.6 billion without investing a cent in Nigeria.”