Briton involved in controversial P&ID contract charged in Nigeria, granted stringent bail conditions

Federal High Court Headquarters, Abuja
Federal High Court Headquarters, Abuja

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Thursday, granted N500 million bail to a British national, James Nolan, who was found culpable in the controversial contract award to Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID).

Mr Nolan and another accused person, Adam Quinn (who is still at large) were 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 the money laundering. Mr Nolan is also said to be a signatory to P&ID accounts.

The judge, Okon Abang, delivering the bail application ruling on Thursday, ordered Mr Nolan to produce a serving senator to stand surety for him in the same bail sum.

Mr Abang said the serving senator must be someone that does not have a criminal case that is pending in any court in the country.

He added that the senator must have landed property that is fully developed in the Maitama District of the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), Abuja.

The judge stressed that an officer of the court will verify the statutory Certificate of Occupancy of the property as issued by the Federal Capital Territory Administration.

Also as part of the bail conditions, the judge held that the proposed surety must submit a three years tax clearance certificate and sign an undertaken to always be present in court with the defendant throughout the duration of the trial.

The surety is to depose an affidavit of means with two passport photographs and undertake to pay the total bail sum, should the defendant escape from the country before the conclusion of his trial.

Furthermore, the court ordered Mr Nolan to surrender all his international passports, even as it mandated the Nigerian Immigration Service to confirm how many passports that were issued to him within the past 20 years.

The Nigerian government had in a counter-affidavit that was deposed to by an operative of the anti-graft agency, EFCC, Aminu Lawal, informed the court that it got an intelligence report that Mr Nolan concluded plans to “sneak out of the country” before he was apprehended by security operatives.

The prosecutor, Bala Sanga, told the court that the defendant was arrested after an extensive covert manhunt that stretched for over two weeks.

Mr Sanga told the court that Mr Nolan was a signatory to accounts of
P&ID, Nigeria, the In-Country Support Manager of P&ID, Virgin Island.

He said Mr Nolan engaged in money laundering and tax evasion, forgery of immigration documents, running of a trafficking syndicate and was involved in corrupting Nigerian officials.

Backstory

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 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.

The Nigerian government has appealed the British court ruling and secured an order delaying the execution of the court judgement.

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.

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