Nigeria’s Federal Government on Tuesday linked the contract which led to a judgement debt of $9.6 billion (N3.5 trillion) by a UK court to the administration of ex-President Umaru Yar’Adua.
An Irish-owned firm, Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) was granted court permission to seize up to $9bn (£7.4bn) in assets belonging to the Nigerian government.
Mr Justice Christopher John Butcher of the British Commercial Court had said that the firm could take 20 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign reserves, a move that would deal a devastating blow to the Nigerian economy.
However, the government, at a joint briefing in Abuja by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed alongside the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele on Tuesday, said the judgment of the UK court could not stand.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the National Intelligence Agency( NIA) and the Inspector-General of Police to probe the criminal conspiracy behind the failed contract.
According to the minister, the decision was based on the fact that the Federal Government suspected foul play in the contract which was negotiated and signed in 2010.
“We want to place on record that the Federal Government views with serious concerns the underhanded manner in which the contract was negotiated and signed,” he said.
Mohammed said indications were that the whole process was carried out by some vested interests in the past administration, which apparently colluded with their local and international conspirators to inflict grave economic injury on Nigeria and its people.
He added that in view of the above, and in an attempt to unravel the circumstances surrounding the entire transaction, the Attorney General of the Federation, with the approval of Buhari had requested the EFCC, NIA and the Inspector General of Police to conduct a thorough investigation into the company, the circumstances surrounding the agreement and the subsequent event, which included commencing a full-scale criminal investigation.
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