Hope for Nigeria as court orders forfeiture of P&ID assets to Federal Government
The Federal High Court on Thursday, ordered the forfeiture of all assets of the Process and Industrial Development (P&ID), an Irish Company in Nigeria.
The EFCC charged Muhammad Kuchazi, Commercial Director of the P&ID incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and Adamu Usman, who was described as a director of the firm in Nigeria with 11 counts bordering on money laundering, abuse of office and economic sabotage.
Delivering judgment, Justice Edward Ekwo, convicted them after they pleaded guilty to the charges.
Following the details recommended by the EFCC, the court convicted Usman on all 11 counts, while Kuchazi was convicted on ten counts.
Justice Ekwo said he had taken note of the guilty plea and the evidence tagged exhibits PW1a and PW1b.
He also held that the punishment to be given to the convicts, who had legal representation in court, was contained in the Advance Fee Fraud Act and the Money Laundering Act.
“An order is hereby made that the assets of Process and Industrial Development company be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” the judge ruled.
“An order is hereby made for the second convict to be round up and his properties and assets forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria,” he said.
The judge added that the orders would be entered as the judgement of the court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) commenced an investigation into the contract between Nigeria and P&ID.
This following a British court ruling that Nigeria owed the Irish firm about nine billion dollars 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.”
NAN reports the convicts pleaded guilty to intent to defraud by obtaining property from the Cross River government, and a second count of obtaining land from the state government with the intent to defraud, as well as ‘count three’ for conspiring with certain individuals to commit a felony by dealing with petroleum product without the appropriate licence.
The defendants also pleaded guilty to ‘count four’ which was a similar charge to ‘count three’, as well as pleaded guilty to counts five, and count six which bordered on the charges of tax evasion.
They pleaded guilty to count seven, and count eight of concealing the origin of over N3 million operated by P&ID when they knew that the money formed part of proceeded of an unlawful act.
The companies pleaded guilty to count nine that between January and December 2009, they concealed the unlawful origin of over N2 million in a commercial bank when they reasonably ought to know that the proceeds formed part of their unlawful act of tax evasion.
They pleaded guilty to concealing the origin of over N1 million in a commercial bank operated by P&ID when they ought to reasonably know that it formed part of proceeds of tax evasion by the company.
The defendants also pleaded guilty to the last ‘count 11’ for failing to comply with the requirements of submitting a declaration of their activities to the Ministry of Trade and Investment, among others. (NAN)