EFCC’s investigation, attempt to cover up FG’s failure — P&ID

Process and Industrial Developments Limited has described the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s investigation into its activities as an attempt by the Federal Government to cover its failure and evade the consequences of breach of contract.

A commercial court in the United Kingdom had ruled that the Federal Government must pay the British firm a sum of $9.6bn or have its assets to the tune of that amount forfeited for breach of contract.

Following the ruling, the Federal Government filed an appeal, alleging that the firm was fraudulent, adding that it did not start the project and did not pay VAT, among other allegations.

However, the firm debunked the allegations through Chris Rogers, an Assistant Director at the London-based public relations firm, iNHouse Communications, which has been receiving and responding to public enquiries about P&ID in relation to the $9.6bn judgment given in favour of the company and against Nigeria by a British court in August, in a response to an email inquiry sent to it.

He said the firm operated within the confines of Nigerian laws as well as international legal framework.

Rogers, while debunking the claims of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that the firm never started the project despite its claims to have invested $40m, said the amount was the cost of preparatory work for the project.

Rogers also debunked the allegation that P&ID transferred billions of naira in a suspicious move and never filed tax returns or pay VAT to the Federal Government.

He said, “P&ID operated within the proper confines of both Nigerian and international laws. The Nigerian Government’s fabricated sham investigation, led by the EFCC, is a desperate attempt to shift responsibility away from their own failures and to evade their international legal responsibilities.

“The $40m relates to costs for preparatory work in the early days of the project. The $40m came from Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.) and was structured as a contract for services.

“P&ID was reimbursed for this expenditure. P&ID did not claim the $40m in the arbitration. The tribunal award was for loss of profits, not the $40m expenditure. The allegation by the Nigerian government in relation to the $40m is a red herring.

“Also, the assertion that P&ID never ‘started the construction’ is nonsensical. As the arbitration concluded in 2016, (Pg 15, Paragraph 63-66) of the tribunal award, ‘It would have been commercially absurd for P&ID to go to the expense of building GPFs when the government had done nothing to make arrangements for the supply of the Wet Gas.’

“The assertion by the Nigerian government that the land was fraudulently obtained from Cross River State Government is false.”

Rogers also faulted the claims that P&ID had no physical address and no investment anywhere in the world, saying Michael Quinn and Brendan Cahill had over 30 years’ experience in project management and execution in Nigeria.

He stated further that the firm was established in 2006 for the sole purpose of pursuing the project that gave rise to the Gas Supply & Processing Agreement.

“The project’s origins stemmed from the Nigerian government’s request to support the Master Gas Plan outlined by (the then) Minister of Petroleum Rilwanu Lukman – one of the most senior and respected Nigerian government officials of recent decades, who proposed a solution to the country’s dearth of electrical generation that continues to this day.

“P&ID was one of 13 projects to be supported by the government under the GMP. The P&ID project was a key part of this major initiative. The technology for the P&ID project was well established and the wet gas was clearly available – it was (and still is) being flared and wasted, causing massive environmental damage.

“The tribunal found the project would have succeeded, having heard expert evidence submitted by both P&ID and the Muhammadu Buhari administration. Perhaps the ultimate proof that the concept of the project is sound (and not ‘doomed’) is the fact that the current Buhari administration is seeking investors with a view to processing flared gas, using similar technology to the P&ID project proposal.

“The Buhari administration’s own action to find a way to make use of flared gas is clear evidence that such an approach is both desirable and achievable.”

However, spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, pledged to respond, but failed to do so as of press time. He also did not respond to subsequent calls.

When contacted, Special Assistant to the Minister of Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi, declined to speak on the matter.

The failed gas supply project agreement between P&ID and the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, in 2010, had led to an award of the sum $9.6bn in favour of the company and against Nigeria by a London-based arbitration panel.

 The decision which held that Nigeria was in breach of the agreement was affirmed by a British court in August 2019.
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