A new twist in the P&ID tale — the representatives of the firm have just pled guilty to 11 counts of fraud and tax evasion in a Nigerian court.
The Back Story
It would be recalled that sometime last month, a court of arbitration in the United Kingdom ruled in favour of Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID).
The court compelled the Nigerian government to pay as much as USD 9.6 Bn in damages to the company for failing to fulfill its end of a gas supply contract that was signed by both parties in 2010.
The court even gave the go-ahead for P&ID to proceed with confiscating Nigerian oil and gas assets in foreign lands.
Actually, the contract did seem like a sham from day one, and P&ID was even branded a dodgy firm with a questionable identity and a history of specializing in this sort of shakedowns.
The Nigerian government was never going to part with USD 9.6 Bn (up to 20 percent of Nigeria’s foreign reserves) for a contract gone bad, anyway. Especially when that contract was hurriedly put together by individuals who may have taken advantage of a brief power gap during the protracted illness of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
The Latest Twist
President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration opted to double down and fight back. And now the fightback appears to be yielding results.
Fresh reports have it that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned two representatives of the British Virgin Islands Firm, P&ID on 11 counts of fraud and tax evasion.
The representatives all pled guilty before the Federal High Court in Abuja to the charges leveled against them in relation to the contract leading to the recent controversial USD 9.6 Bn court judgment by a British court against the Nigerian government.
The firms, P&ID Ltd, Virgin Island, and P&ID Nigeria Limited, were represented by the Commercial Director, Mohammad Kuchazi and a lawyer Adamu Usman respectively. Kuchazi was represented by his lawyer, Dandison Akurunwua.
Both representatives were alleged to have fraudulently claimed to have acquired land from the Cross River State Government in 2010 for the gas supply project agreement that resulted to the outrageous “USD 9.6 Bn damages” ruling.
Among others, they also pled guilty to another count of obtaining land from the state government with the intent to defraud, as well as the count for conspiring with certain individuals to commit a felony by dealing with petroleum products without the appropriate license.
The court went on to pronounce the firms guilty and ordered the Federal Government to impound the firm’s assets and confiscate their properties in the country.
The Big Picture
The latest twist in the tale comes after Adam Quinn, the son of Michael Quinn — the late Irishman who owns P&ID — extended an olive branch to the Nigerian government.
Until the Nigerian government decided to ‘really tackle’ the matter, P&ID had been blowing hard. But after certain damning revelations about the company’s identity and pedigree came to light, P&ID seems to have left its bullish stance.
Early this month, Adam Quinn had proposed a meeting with the Nigerian government to settle the matter. But the latest development would suggest the time for negotiation has passed and it’s all about decisive action from here on now. At least, that’s the posture from the Nigerian camp. And it would be interesting to see how the rest of this plays out.