$9.6bn P&ID claim: FG slams additional charges against British national

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday slammed additional charges against a British national standing trial before a Federal High Court, Abuja over his alleged complicity in the controversial $9.6 billion arbitral awards to Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) by a United Kingdom commercial court.

The defendants, Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution (DNFI) and ICIL Limited and James Richard Nolan, who were on, October 21, 2019, arraigned on a 16 count- charge, bordering on money laundering had their charges increased to 32 by the anti-graft agency in an amended charge.

At the resumed trial yesterday, the prosecution counsel, Ekele Iheanacho told the trial Judge, Justice Okon Abang that the prosecution had filed an amended charge against the defendants and when the charges were read, Nolan, who is the third defendant in the matter, pleaded not guilty to the 32-count charge.

In the charge sheet, the defendants were accused of violating Money Laundering and Prohibition Act, 2011, tax evasion as well as failure to submit value-added tax returns, amongst other charges.

After the not guilty plea by the defendant, the first prosecution witness, Adewale Akinseyi was called for the continuation of cross-examination by the defence counsel, Paul Erokoro (SAN).

Under cross-examination, the witness, who was an account officer with P&ID Limited gave details of the inflow of dollars from the account of the P&ID.

“From the details of transactions on the account, we have a dollar inflow of $76, 170 from the account of P&ID care of K-Creppides Company Limited to P&ID Nigeria Limited on September 5, 2006”, he said

The witness said $135, 000 was transferred from P&ID care of K- Creppides Company Limited to P&ID Nigeria on 5th September 2006 and another inflow of $50, 000 on April 13, 2006, and added that the funds were sent by K-Crrppides Company Limited on behalf P&ID Limited.

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According to the witness, “There is nothing unusual in a company transferring funds on behalf of another company. A company can transfer funds legally on behalf of another company, depending on the nature of the transaction or the relationship between the companies “.

When the defence counsel sought to tender the statement of the witness to the EFCC, the prosecution counsel objected to it saying the foundation for the tendering of the statement as evidence has not been laid by the defence.

After taking arguments on the admissibility of the document, the court adjourned till December 6, 2019, for ruling and further cross-examination of the witness.

Recall that the court, on November 7, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N500 million and a surety in likes sum.

Justice Abang, in his ruling on Nolan’s bail application, held that he (Nolan) must produce a surety, who must be a serving senator, not standing trial in a criminal case in any court in Nigeria.

Parts of the bail conditions are that the surety must have a fully developed property located in the Maitama district of Abuja and that the Chief Registrar of the court must ascertain prove of ownership of the said property.

The court also ruled that the surety must undertake in writing to be in court with the defendant in all adjourned dates in the matter and that, where the surety failed, the court will not hesitate to revoke the bail terms.

Justice Abang also held that the police must check the residence of the surety, who must tender three years evidence of tax payment.

The defendant, the court held must deposit his international passport with the court.

Count one of the charges read: “That you James Richard Nolan and Adam Quinn(at large), sometime in December 2013 in Abuja, being Directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution(“DNFI”) aided the said Company in failing to comply in the requirement of submitting to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments a declaration of the activities as specified under Section 5 (1)(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16 (2b) of the same Act”.

Another count reads: “That you Goidel Resources Limited, sometime in February 2014, at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Federal High Court being a Designated Non-Financial Institution (“DNFI”) failed to report in writing to the EFCC a single lodgment of the sum of $125,000, in your account as specified under Section 10(1b) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 16(2b) of the same Act.”

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