The federal government yesterday led evidence to convince a United Kingdom (UK) High Court to accept its allegation that the Gas Supply Purchasing Agreement (GSPA) between Nigeria and Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID) for a 20-year contract on gas project, was conceived with the full intent of defrauding Nigeria.
It said the GSPA, under which P&ID was to build gas processing facilities in Cross River State and the government was to supply wet gas up to 400 million standard cubic feet per day that will be processed to generate electricity, was a grand scheme conceived by an Irish businessman, Mr. Michael Quinn, in cahoots with top Nigerian government officials to defraud the country.
The lawyer representing the Nigerian government, Mr. Mark Howard, told an online UK High Court session, headed by Sir Ross Cranston, that P&ID knew from the beginning that there was no deal, noting that it was only a facade to fleece Nigeria.
Nigeria also alleged that it has uncovered previously unknown payments to Vera Taiga, a daughter of a Nigerian official, Mrs. Grace Taiga, in the country’s latest attempt to overturn the $9.6 billion arbitration award against it.
Nigerian government’s lawyer also said he had evidence of payments from companies related to P&ID to Vera, 11 days before the deal was signed in January 2010.
Taiga was a former director of Legal Services for the Ministry of Petroleum, whose political head, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, signed the GSPA at the time on behalf of Nigeria.
The government said one payment of $4,969.50 was made on December 30, 2009, and a second of $5,000 on January 31, 2012.
The payments came to light following a United States discovery order in New York, it said. The government also said P&ID officials, and companies linked to it, paid several other officials in relation to the deal.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in 2019 charged Taiga with accepting bribes and failing to follow protocol related to the contract.
She has pleaded not guilty and awaits trial.
P&ID, founded by the late Quinn and Brendan Cahill, the lawyer told the court, had no intention to perform any obligation concerning the purported contract, reason the company went about bribing Nigerian government officials at the time.
The company had taken legal action against Nigeria for alleged breach of contract, with a panel of three arbitrators voting 2-1 to award P & ID the full sum of its claim of $6.6 billion, plus interest which spiked the arbitration value to about $10 billion.