EFCC to arraign ex-official of Nigeria’s petroleum ministry over P&ID Contract Scandal

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will Friday, charge a former Director, Legal Services, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Grace Taiga, to court.

Taiga is a suspect linked to the controversial Gas Supply Project Agreement which led to the recent $9.6bn judgment given against Nigeria and in favour of Process and Industrial Developments by a British court.

She is scheduled to be arraigned before the Apo Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on eight counts, on Friday. She will become the third person to be charged by the anti-graft agency.

The government has on Thursday, arraigned two persons it said were representatives of the P&ID before a Federal High Court in Abuja on allegations of fraud.

The two suspects, Muhammad Kuchazi, said to be a commercial director of P&ID, and Adamu Usman, a director of the company in Nigeria, pleaded guilty to the 11 counts of fraudulent involvement in the contract.

In its ruling on Thursday, the court convicted the suspects and ordered the firm to forfeit all its assets to the Nigerian government.

The EFCC commenced an investigation of the contract following a British court ruling that Nigeria owed the Irish firm about $9 billion for violating terms of the contract.

The contract for gas supply and processing (GSPA) was signed by the administration of late President Umaru Yar’Adua and P&ID.

The company was to build gas processing facilities around Calabar, Cross River State, and the government was to supply wet gas up to 400 million standard cubic feet per day.

The agreement defined wet gas as “associated gas removed, during oil production, having a propane content of not less than 3.5 mol per cent and a butane content of not less than 1.8 mol content, compressed and delivered via pipeline to the site.”

In turn, the company “shall operate and maintain the GPFs (gas processing facilities) on a professional basis to ensure a regular supply of Lean Gas (approximately 340 MMSCuFD) for power generation.” Lean gas, defined as “pipeline quality gas having a composition of not less than 95 mol per cent of methane and ethane,” was what the government was to take after supplying wet gas for processing by the company.

A three-member arbitration panel that reviewed the contract had ruled against Nigeria and ordered the government to pay the firm $6.6 billion as damages.

A British court last month ruled against Nigeria’s objection to the 2017 arbitration.

The money with interest has now accumulated to about $9 billion (approximately N3.24 trillion), over one-third of Nigeria’s 2019 budget.

 




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