THE former Minister and Attorney General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa, has extolled the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for its leading role, which culminated in the nation winning the $11 billion Process & Industrial Developments, P&ID Suit.
P&ID had alleged that the contract failed because the Nigerian government breached the terms of the contract.
It therefore approached the courts where on January 31, 2017; it succeeded in securing an arbitral award of $6.6 billion against Nigeria as well as pre-and post-judgment interest at seven per cent.
But in the judgment, delivered on Monday, a UK court upheld Nigeria’s position that the gas processing contract, which P&ID alleged had failed because the Nigerian government breached the terms of the contract was fraudulently obtained.
Reacting to the judgment, the former Minister and Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, said the judgment would not have been in favour of Nigeria without the commitment of some parties, especially CBN.
He said: “The role played by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in seeing that Nigeria triumphed over Process & Industrial Limited’s (P&ID) $11 billion suit against Nigeria, underscores the importance the apex bank attaches to ensuring that the country is not defrauded through phony contracts and its belief in transparency in all transactions.
“When the Federal Government decided to raise the committee that led the battle against P&ID, the Committee did not waste time in realizing the important role CBN could play to ensure its victory in the case. The Committee comprised of the Attorney General of the Federation, the Governor of CBN, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, and the Chairman of the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. NNPC Limited was to join later.”
The former AGF revealed how the immediate-past governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, Godwin Emefiele saved the country billions of dollars that would otherwise have been paid as arbitral award to a foreign company, Process & Industrial Developments.
Speaking on an Arise Television breakfast show, Aondoakaa, who was AGF when P&ID agreed with Nigeria in 2010 to build a gas processing plant in Calabar, Cross River State, said the CBN under Emefiele, greatly assisted Nigeria’s legal team in the case instituted against Nigeria in a London court.
“I particularly give credit to the CBN under the then Governor, Godwin Emefiele because there was strong pressure that settlement should be made. Our team was in the minority and we had to fight till the end. There was also apprehension that if we didn’t settle and the court gave judgment against us, Nigeria would lose everything.
“Emefiele advised the President strongly against such approval, staking his name in convincing the President that the contract was fraudulent and that the P &ID would not succeed in court if Nigeria hired competent lawyers. It was based on the assurances of Emefiele that President Buhari refused payment and rather encouraged litigation which eventually favoured Nigeria.”
He also extolled the contributions of the Director Legal Services,CBN, Kofo Salam-Alada, stressing that, “The EFCC wanted a lawyer from the CBN to be on the Committee. The name Kofo Salam-Alada who was then serving as Director of the Consumer Services Department of the CBN was mentioned, this writer learnt.
“He eventually emerged as the Coordinator of the FGN P&ID Team. He was the go-to person for everything P&ID. He was the liaison between the UK lawyers of the FGN and law enforcement agencies in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Petroleum, and the Office of the Vice President. He also coordinated the activities of the Nigerian lawyers appointed to provide support to the UK lawyers.
“He gave us the confidence, gave us the support and ensured that we were able to present to the UK lawyers that this was a fraud.”