The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday re-arraigned two British nationals over their alleged involvement in the controversial Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) gas processing contract.
The contract led to the $9.6bn arbitral awards to P&ID Limited by a United Kingdom commercial court.
James Nolan and Adam Quinn were arraigned alongside ICIL Limited before a judge, D.U. Okorowo, of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Mr Nolan pleaded not guilty to the 32 counts including money laundering and tax evasion.
Mr Quinn, who was said to be at large, was re-arraigned in absentia, with “not guilty” plea recorded for him and the judge.
Similarly, a “not guilty” plea” was recorded for the company.
According to a statement by the EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, both Messrs Nolan and Quinn are directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution (DNFI) and ICIL Limited.
The defendants last year were first arraigned before a Federal High Court judge, Okon Abang, who has now been transferred out of the Abuja division.
The case was subsequently re-assigned to the new judge before whom the defendants were arraigned on Monday.
Similarly, the commission had also arraigned a P&ID Commercial Director, Mohammed Kuchazi, alongside his company, Kore Holdings Limited, before Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the eight counts which the defendants allegedly committed in 2014.
Mr Nolan pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when read to him in court on Monday. Mr Quinn, who is said to be at large, was not available to take his plea.
Prosecuting counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, requested that his plea be recorded as “not guilty” which the judge granted.
Mr Iheanacho then asked the court for a trial date.
But the defence counsel, Micheal Ajara, applied to the court for the defendant to continue enjoying the bail granted to him by Okon Abang, which the prosecuting counsel did not oppose.
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The judge, Mr Okorowo, thereafter adjourned the matter till December 13 for commencement of trial.
P&ID’s case with Nigeria
P&ID had secured a $9.6 billion award against Nigeria following the non-execution of a 20-year gas and supply processing agreement (GSPA) it had with the federal government.
Under the terms of the agreement, P&ID was to build and operate an Accelerated Gas Development project to be located at Adiabo in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The firm sued Nigeria before a U.K court that authorised the P&ID, and secured a ruling in its favour over the failed gas contract.
Last September, Ross Cranston of the UK Business & Property Courts (commercial court) granted Nigeria’s application for a stay of execution of the award of $8.9 billion (about N3.2 trillion) in favour of P&ID.