Suspects in controversial P&ID deal arraigned, plead guilty to economic sabotage

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Two directors of the Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID), an Irish engineering company, have pleaded guilty to charges of economic sabotage levelled against them by the federal government.

Muhammad Kuchazi, commercial director of P&ID, British Virgin Islands, and Adamu Usman, a director of the firm in Nigeria, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of economic sabotage and money laundering at a federal high court in Abuja on Thursday.

The suit was filed after a $9 billion judgement was awarded against Nigeria by a British court in August.

In August, a British court gave P&ID the fiat to seize Nigerian assets worth $9 billion, following the non-execution of a gas supply and processing ”contract”.

Alfa Belgore, a former chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), allegedly provided background support to P&ID in securing the judgement for which he was paid $50,000.

The company claimed it entered a 20-year gas and supply processing ”agreement” (GSPA) with the federal government to build a gas processing facility in Calabar in 2010.

It said years after preparing for the project, it collapsed because the Nigerian government did not build a pipeline or secure supply of gas as stipulated in the agreement.

It then sought judicial remedy in 2012, and in 2017, it was awarded $6.6 billion in damages, which accumulated to $9 billion.

The contract has been steeped in controversy owing to its opacity and following the denial of some principal subjects in the administration of Umar Musa Yar’ adua, under which the deal was reportedly sealed.

Michael Aondoakaa, former attorney-general of the federation (AGF), said the contract was not approved by the Yar’ adua government.

He even claimed that as the AGF at the time he was not aware of the deal — not until news of the $9.6 billion P&ID judgement broke.

The late Rilwanu Lukman was minister of petroleum resources under Yar’ adua, whose ministry is said to be majorly involved in the deal.

The federal government said it will prosecute all those involved in the deal, but that it will negotiate with P&ID regarding the judgement sum.

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