The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday re-arraigned a British national, James Nolan.
Mr Nolan was re-arraigned on a 32-count amended charge for his involvement in the controversial contract awarded to Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID).
He and another accused person, Adam Quinn (who is still at large), were on October 21 docked on a 16 count-charge of money laundering.
They were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on October 21 and Mr Nolan pleaded not guilty.
The defendants are both directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution (DNFI), and ICIL Limited; firms that they allegedly used for money laundering. Mr Nolan is also said to be a signatory to P&ID accounts.
But at the resumed hearing of the matter on Thursday, EFCC’s lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho, informed the Federal High Court in Abuja of an amended charge he filed on November 20.
Mr Iheancho said the EFCC is now bringing up the 32-count charge against the defendants in the case contrary to the initial 16-count charge.
EFCC’s witness testifies
After Mr Nolan pleaded not guilty to the 32-count charge read to him and a plea of not guilty entered for the first defendant who is not a person, the court continued the trial with the EFCC’s first witness, Adewale Akinseye, who said he was an account officer with Guaranteed Trust Bank(GTB).
Mr Akinseye confirmed to the court that he was the account officer of P&ID Limited.
He said he also recalled that in his statement to the anti-graft agency, he identified Jadesola Awoyinfa and Adamu Usman as the promoters of P&ID as deduced from the particulars of directors and account opening documents.
Mr Akinseye said the account was initiated on August 10, 2006.
“From the details of (the) transaction provided for activities on the account, we have a dollar inflow of $76,170 (which) was inflowed from the account of P&ID Limited, c/o K. Treppides Company Limited to P&ID Nigeria Limited on September 5, 2006,” the witness read from his statement. “(And another) $135,000 on September 5, 2006, from P&ID Limited, c/o K. Treppides Company Limited to P&ID Nigeria Limited.”
According to Mr Akinseye, the bank checks and identifies the source of funds sent to it and if the funds had emanated from a sanctioned party, the bank would not have accepted the funds.
The court presided over by Okon Abang adjourned the matter to December 6 for ruling on the admissibility of the statement made by the EFCC witness.
P&ID had approached a British court to seek compensation claiming the Nigeria government breached a 2010 gas contract agreement. The government had contracted P&ID to build gas processing facilities around Calabar, Cross River. According to the contract, the government was required to supply wet gas of up to 400 million cubic feet daily.
The court initially granted the firm an arbitral award of $6.6 billion. But the figure rose to about $9 billion with an additional $2.3 billion in accumulated interest at 7 per cent rate, after Nigeria refused to enter an appeal for more than five years after the original ruling.
The Nigerian government has appealed the British court ruling and secured an order delaying the execution of the court judgment.
The government says the contract was fraudulent ab initio and that both parties (including the Nigerian officials who signed for Nigeria) signed it to defraud the Nigerian government.
The contract was 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.