The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), said on Thursday that the Federal Government would bring to book former and current government officials who caused the August 19, 2019 award of $9bn by a British court against Nigeria.

Speaking during his first full day in office in Abuja after his Wednesday’s re-appointment for the second term as the AGF, Malami promised to pursue judicial reforms including proposing an amendment of the Constitution that would provide an innovative way to tackle congestion of cases at the Supreme Court.

He said the anti-corruption agencies, under his watch, would be beaming searchlight on banks, and other financial institutions, and non-designated financial institutions, which he said, “are involved in most of the major corruption cases”.

A United Kingdom court presided over by Justice Butcher” had on August 16, 2019 awarded the sum in favour of a foreign firm, Process & Industrial Developments Limited.

The court did this by granting an enforcement application which converted the arbitration award secured by P&ID into a domestic UK judgment against Nigeria.

The Federal Government had insisted that the money was awarded in favour of P&ID despite that the 20 years old project of accelerated gas development, in Nigeria’s OMLs 67 and 123, for which it was meant for was never executed.

It said it would take steps to stop the enforcement of the judgment.

On Thursday, Malami described the award by the UK court as sad, and dubbed it as part of the “consequences of the underhand dealings of the past administrations”.

He said, “Sadly, in spite of the spirited and concerted efforts of the current administration to combat corrupt practices and rent-seeking in all its forms, Nigerians woke up on Friday, August 16, 2019 to the rudest consequences of the underhand dealings of the past administration that has resulted in the award of $9bn against the Federal Republic of Nigeria, by a British court which ruled that Process and Industrial Development Limited had the right to seize $9bn in Nigerian assets.”

He noted that “the dispute that led to the arbitration between the Federal Government of Nigeria and  P&ID which consequently resulted in the said court ruling arose from a 20-year Gas Supply Processing Agreement purportedly entered with  P&ID by the past administration in 2010, the contract which P&ID never performed as agreed”.

He said steps would be taken to bring everyone involved to book.

The minister said, “That being said, it must be placed on record that the Federal Government strongly views with serious concerns the underhand manners by which the negotiation, signing and formation of the contract was carried out by some vested interests in the past administration in connivance with their local and international conspirators all in a bid to inflict grave economic adversity on the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the good people of Nigeria.

“As a government that has the mandate of the people, and their interests at heart, we shall not fold our arms and allow this injustice to go unpunished as all efforts, actions and steps shall be taken to bring to book all private individuals, corporate entities and government officials – home or abroad and past or present – that played direct and indirect roles in the conception, negotiation, signing, formation as well as prosecution of the purported agreement.”

The Punch

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