$9.6bn judgment debt: How Jonathan aborted plans to pay $850m to P&ID
FRESH facts emerged on Friday that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan aborted plans to pay $850million to Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Limited five days to his exit in 2015.
It was learnt that some officials of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources smuggled a memo to the ex-President recommending the payment of the $850million.
The ex-President, however, offered to seek a second opinion from a senior government official who advised against the payment.
The top official was said to have advised Jonathan against such payment in the twilight of his administration because President Muhammadu Buhari’s government might uncover the payment.
As at press time, there were indications that the law firm engaged from New York by the Federal Government had collected relevant documents and received briefing from top government officials ahead of the legal battle later this month in a UK court.
But detectives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have been identifying those implicated in the Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and P&ID.
According to a top source, the P&ID was able to infiltrate the administrations of Yar’Adua and Jonathan.
The source said: “About five days to the handover to Buhari administration, some officials of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources came up with a suspicious memo to ex-President Jonathan on the need to pay $850million to P&ID.
“The cash was to be sourced from the escrow accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).There were no legal instruments/ documents which fuelled suspicion by the ex-President.
“The former President later sought advice from a senior official in his administration who advised against the release of such a humongous amount in about five days to his exit from power. Jonathan later shelved plans to approve the payment to P&ID.
“By the time the EFCC concludes its forensic investigation, Nigerians will know more about the under-the-table deal behind the GSPA with P&ID.”
As at press time, findings confirmed that the Federal Government was battle ready with P&ID over the $9.6billion judgment debt.
Another source added: “We are battle ready for P&ID. All relevant documents and briefing by relevant government officials have been made available to the law firm engaged from New York. The foreign lawyers will work with both Nigerian lawyers, Olasupo Shasore (SAN) and Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), who have been on the matter.
“So far, we are developing a strategy on the legal battle. The coordinating team might still meet next week to firm up this strategy. The position of the legal team is that we have a strong case against P&ID.”
Meanwhile, detectives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have started identifying those implicated in the Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and P&ID.
Another top source said: “So far, the entire so-called contract was fraudulent. We have been able to establish that the Ministry of Petroleum Resources entered into the GSPA with P&ID without the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). Those behind the deal took advantage of the illness of ex-President Umaru Yar’Adua.
“The signing of the contract has traces of forgery of some documents. We are subjecting some documents to forensic analysis.
“As I talk to you, we have identified some past and present government officials to be interrogated on the contract with P&ID. The activities of the Irish firm in Nigeria are also under scrutiny.”