A New York judge has granted Nigeria’s request to subpoena 10 banks in the US regarding access to account statements of some of Nigeria’s former top public officeholders, Law360 reports.
In September 2019, a UK court awarded $9.6 billion against Nigeria in favour of Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID).
In a bid to overturn the $9.6 billion arbitration award, as reported by Bloomberg, the federal government filed an application before the US court seeking permission to subpoena information on transactions involving top government officials, including former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience; former ministers of petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke and Rilwanu Lukman.
But the former president had said he has no foreign bank accounts.
According to Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, “there is good reason to believe that ministers at the highest level were involved in a corrupt scheme to steal money from Nigeria”.
He said P&ID had no ability or intention of ever performing the contract, which required the company to build a gas processing plant and the government to supply gas.
He said P&ID paid kickbacks to government officials so that they could overlook the company’s lack of technical capabilities in executing the contract which was never started.
Ruling on the application on Thursday, Lorna Schofield, the judge, held that Nigeria’s request met the standards of the law.
But the court rejected Nigeria’s request to conceal its findings from P&ID.
The judge ordered that Nigeria must grant P&ID access to the documents received from the subpoena.
The banks involved are: Citibank, N.A. (Citibank), Allied Irish Banks plc (Allied Irish), HSBC Bank USA (HSBC), Standard New York, Inc. (Standard New York), Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas (Deutsche Bank), J.P. Morgan Chase (JPMorgan), United Bank for Africa (UBA), Bank of Cyprus, Fortis Private Banking Singapore Limited (Fortis), and Standard Chartered International (USA) Ltd. (Standard Chartered).
The Nigerian government said the 10 banks are “likely to have processed US dollar transactions connected to P&ID’s operations as either correspondent banks or the New York branches of foreign lenders”.
P&ID’s spokesperson described the request for a subpoena as “a desperate attempt to substantiate Nigeria’s spurious allegations of fraud”.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting James Nolan, Adam Quinn (at large), and two firms in which they are said to be directors – Goidel Resources Limited, and ICIL Limited on 32 counts of fraud — linked to the P&ID case.