Connect with us

Local News

Ex – Government Officials Spent P & ID Bribes On Wedding , Medical Trips

Published

on

images 79 Ex - Government Officials Spent P & ID Bribes On Wedding , Medical Trips

Two former officials of the Federal Government in the Process & Industrial Developments $9.6bn case, who were accused of collecting bribes from the Irish firm, said they spent some of the monies to cover a son’s wedding, a medical trip to London, among others.
The two ex-officials, according to the P&ID’s court judgment document, were a senior legal adviser in the Federal Ministry of Justice and a member of the ministry’s technical committee. They explained how they spent the monies in their witness statements before the court.
A London court had on Friday given the Nigerian government more time to appeal in the long-running multi-billion-dollar arbitration case over a failed gas deal.
P&ID had secured a High Court ruling in August 2019 to begin the seizure of $9.6bn in assets – about one-fifth of Nigeria’s foreign reserves.
The Federal Government had appealed the decision in September 2019, despite having missed a deadline to do so, and was given a stay of execution provided it made a $200m security payment.
In a ruling handed to the parties on Friday, the Commercial Court judge, Ross Cranston, granted Nigeria more time to prepare its challenge with new evidence.
“I grant Nigeria’s applications for an extension of time and relief from sanctions,” he said in a written judgment.
According to the court documents, Nigeria, through its legal representative, Mark Howard, alleged that P&ID officials paid more than $700,000 as bribes to some of the government’s officials to procure the gas deal.
Some of the officials are still standing trial and made statements as witnesses before the court.
The court ruling said, “Mr Howard’s case for Nigeria was that P&ID procured the Gas Supply and Processing Agreement by paying bribes to Nigerian officials. In return, these officials overlooked the shortcomings of the P&ID’s bid.”
Further checks in the court document showed that 34 witness statements were made before the court, including eight from the Attorney-General, Mr Abubakar Malami.
Two of the statements confirmed alleged bribes spent on medical expenses and a son’s wedding.
The court document said, “Payments/alleged bribes – the alleged bribes which Nigeria relied on for the purposes of the hearing were collected in a schedule. In summary the date and amount of these payments, their source, and the date Nigeria uncovered them, are as follows: a senior legal adviser to the Ministry at time of GSPA. On 19 and 20 August 2010, she made two payments into her Access Bank account, in total US$10,400.
“In March this year, Nigeria discovered payments to the woman’s daughter of US$4,969.50 on 30 December, 2009, and US$5,000 on 31 January 2012 respectively. In her first statement, the official says that at no time did she provide illegitimate assistance to P&ID. In her second statement, she clarifies what she had previously said about the deposit in her bank account on 19 and 20 August 2010 and explains that it represented the proceeds of sale of a number of vehicles and a plot of land.
“As to the payments to her daughter in December 2009 and January 2012 by companies associated with Messrs Quinn and Cahill, she says that they provided financial support for private medical treatment in London and had nothing to do with the GSPA.
“The second official was a member of the ministry’s technical committee until he left in January 2011 to become a commissioner in Lagos State. In his first statement to the court, he states that he was chairman of the technical committee to review P&ID’s proposal.
“He says that in early 2009, he attended an unusual meeting in the office of the Minister of Petroleum Resources at the time. Mr Quinn, and a colleague, Neil Hitchcock, were there. The minister directed him to recommend P&ID’s project. After the meeting, Mr Hitchcock dropped a black bag into his car, describing it as a ‘gift’ and that they normally took care of their friends. It contained US$50,000 in cash.
“In his statement, he confirms the bribes outlined earlier in the judgment. The payment of US$30,000 to an oil company (name withheld) on 17 October 2013 was intended for him personally; the two payments of NGN 3,440,000 and NGN 4,350,000 on 3 April 2014 from two companies (name withheld) were intended as P&ID’s contributions to his son’s wedding (the second being funded out of an earlier payment by {one of the companies to the other} on 10 March 2014).”
The court papers continued that a former Nigeria’s legal representative, Olasupo Shasore, defended the country poorly and colluded with P&ID’s officials to make the case fail.
But the Senior Advocate of Nigeria in a statement on Saturday said the allegations were not true, adding that government officials failed to provide documents and witnesses to prosecute the case.
His statement was titled, “Olasupo Shasore SAN: Allegations in the P&ID v FRN Case.”
According to the court judgment, Nigeria’s present counsel, Howard, had in the first two stages of the arbitration, said Shasore “defended the country thinly and the reason was that he had colluded with P&ID with the inevitable result that Nigeria would lose the case.”
The court ruling said, “Mr Howard’s case was that in the first two stages of the arbitration, its counsel, Mr Shasore, deliberately defended the case thinly such that the Tribunal had no choice but to find for P&ID (sic). The reason was that he colluded with P&ID, with the inevitable result that Nigeria would lose the case.”
Shasore, a former President of the Lagos Court of Arbitration, was appointed in 2014 to lead the country out of the P&ID’s saga, but was later replaced by Bolaji Ayorinde, another senior lawyer.
The court judgment said, “It was significant, Mr Howard submitted, that in the arbitration proceedings, Mr Shasore failed to challenge Mr Quinn’s evidence of P&ID’s ability and willingness to perform the contract and the US$40m said to have been expended.
“His attempt at cross-examination of Mr Quinn was bound to fail when he had not challenged anything significant in Mr Quinn’s statement, the issue of cross-examination was foreclosed at the case management hearing in which he participated, and Mr Quinn was dead (which he claimed not to know). Then there were Mr Shasore’s reply submissions, added Mr Howard, where he wrongly asserted that his statement of disputed facts essentially challenged all the facts in Mr Quinn’s statement. Additionally, Mr Shasore dragged his feet when conduct of the arbitration was transferred from the ministry to the Attorney General for the quantum stage.
“At the quantum stage, Mr Howard submitted, Nigeria’s new counsel, Mr Ayorinde, was precluded from reopening the matter. Not only did he not know of Mr Shasore’s behaviour, he had no basis to apply to reopen the Tribunal’s prior findings.”
Meanwhile, Shasore, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former Attorney-General of Lagos State, on Saturday denied the allegations that he colluded with the firm to ensure that Nigeria did not win the case.
In a statement, Shasore said, “I was instructed in this matter and accepted the instructions on behalf of my firm and to the knowledge of my partners in late 2012 and I made every effort to defend and vindicate my client at every stage with very few tools and with minimal support from within the government itself.
“I represented Nigeria up until the liability stage in the arbitration. I did not represent Nigeria in the damages stage of the arbitration, which means I was not involved when the huge sum of damages was awarded against Nigeria.
“None of these is consistent with the unfounded allegations that I failed to present the best available defence. With very little or no cooperation from relevant government officials at the time, I filed a jurisdiction objection that potentially could and should indeed have terminated the case in favour of Nigeria because it was clear to us from the beginning that the contract was a scheme against Nigeria.
“When the then Nigeria officials failed to supply documents or any witnesses to defend their case, I fought liability by enlisting the support of the legal adviser of NNPC who gave evidence to the best of his knowledge when everyone else with knowledge refused to do so.
“I instructed the UK firm of Stephenson Harwood, a respected international arbitration team and a leading barrister, to attempt to set aside the award on liability in England.
“We overcame numerous hurdles and faced a hostile tribunal, which relied on the testimony of a principal witness who had died before the hearing and whose testimony should have been discounted.
“It is on record that I fought hard for the tribunal to dispense with that evidence. I am happy that the falsity of that testimony has now been recorded in the High Court in England. Indeed this was the ground on which I took the matter to the Federal High Court in Nigeria, which was the proper seat of the arbitration and successfully obtained an o

Continue Reading
Comments

Local News

Kogi Government Writes US Over Electoral Fraud Allegation

Published

on

images 12 3 Kogi Government Writes US Over Electoral Fraud Allegation

KGS/GO/ADM/25/II/XX.X
16 September 2020
The Ambassador Of The United States of America
Embassy of The United States of America
1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central Business District
Abuja, NIGERIA
Your Excellency,
RE: VISA RESTRICTIONS ON INDIVIDUALS AND INCLUSION OF THE 2019 KOGI STATE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS IN US STATE DEPARTMENT LIST OF ALLEGEDLY COMPROMISED ELECTIONS – A LETTER OF PROTEST
1. I have been so directed by His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and I hereby make and forward this Letter of Protest to you in respect of the matters contained in it.
2. The Kogi State Government became aware of a United States Government list of individuals who received US visa restrictions for alleged electoral malpractices via a Press Statement to that effect posted on your Embassy website at https:///32vD96M. In your own words, the still unnamed individuals are cited as guilty of ‘acts of violence, intimidation, or corruption that harmed Nigerians and undermined the democratic process.’ They are also alleged to ‘have operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights.’
3. You also noted in the Statement that the sanctions are derived from unspecified misconducts by the said individuals which extend from the February/March 2019 General Elections in Nigeria through the off-cycle November 2019 gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa to the as yet unheld governorship contests in Edo and Ondo States. Please note that for the purposes of this protest letter we are only interested in the citations to the extent that they are referable to Kogi State and her citizens.
4. For the most part, we concede that elections in Nigeria are complex affairs which will continue to require improvements for the foreseeable future. The 2019 Kogi State Gubernatorial Election was also not without its challenges. However, it is also crystal clear from critical and composite analyses of the records (official, media, observers, etc) of the November 16, 2020 polls that regrettable incidents were limited to a few polling units, while the overwhelmingly larger portions of the ballot were free, fair and credible.
5. Further, and in line with Nigerian law, the few political parties and individuals who alleged widespread electoral malpractices had free rein to contest the outcome in court. They vigorously litigated their claims over a grueling 9-month period, through a 3-step hierarchy of courts, to the inescapable conclusion at the Supreme Court of Nigeria that the said elections satisfactorily complied with the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act.
6. Our concern right now is not the prerogative of the United States of America to impose entry restrictions on anyone, for any or no reason at all, which prerogative remains unfettered, but the room for atrocious misinformation which the timing of your Press Statement and the mention of the Kogi elections therein has created in our state.
7. For the February and March 2019 General elections, your advisory came out in July 2019, long before the Supreme Court delivered her judgments in the petitions against those elections, including challenges to President Muhammadu Buhari’s reelection. The presumption is that in spite of your intervention, the Supreme Court still discovered no merit in the petitions and dismissed them accordingly.
8. In our case, ie, Kogi State, you made the tactical decision to release the update shortly after the Supreme Court delivered judgments in the 4 petitions which made it before her. Amongst a plethora of well-reasoned pronouncements the Apex Court dismissed the said petitions for failing to prove their allegations and for having no ‘scintilla of merit’. The inference from your timing is that the judgment is somehow tainted and did not meet the justice of the case, thereby casting aspersions, not only on the Nigerian Judiciary, but on the second term mandate freely bestowed on His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello by the good people of Kogi State.
9. We find this unacceptable, and we protest your presumption. The least you could have done, if indeed this is about democracy and human rights as claimed, is create room, no matter how slim, for fair hearing. As it is now, partisan speculation as to who is indicted, who is not and for what, has become cudgels, furiously swung in the media space by all comers. Your action has therefore added abundant grist to the rumour mills and electrified the merchants of fake news.
10. For instance, a United States based blog, saharareporters.com, has made inflammatory publications in which they named His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, among others, as a definite recipient of your visa restriction. Though you have named no names, accuracy is of no moment to them, just base political expediency, and they quote unnamed US State Department sources to give credibility to what is otherwise unproven.
11. Also, other players in the Kogi political space, including candidates and officials of opposition political parties which lost the elections and could not prove their allegations in court as aforesaid have now latched onto this action, holding media conferences and making press releases, claiming that the United States has justified their wild allegations and conspiracy theories where the courts and the administrative quarters failed. This is utterly regrettable.
12. Let it be noted that we are not challenging your visa bans in any way, whoever they may affect and for how long, but we do register the strongest protest possible as a State to the collateral and unwarranted interference in our political and social processes which it represents. You have reignited already dying embers of discord around the February/March General Elections and the November 16 Kogi State Gubernatorial Elections of 2019. This has invariably made our usual post-election duty of reconciliation with fair-minded political opponents all the more harder. We are hurt and disappointed.
13. Digressing a little beyond Kogi State to our contiguous states of Edo and Ondo, we wish to advice generally that by so preemptively interfering in their elections, both of which are yet to hold, events on ground since your publication indicate that the United States has foisted on our political process, not the expected caution or good behaviour by politicians which may have been your intent, but further calcification of hardened attitudes, more violent polemics, and increased sabre-rattling.
14. Even now every camp is trying to spin your action as evidence of US support for themselves and hostility to their opponents. Everyone involved in those elections is now stoked with an aura of invincibility and hellbent on displaying all manners of outrageousness on election day to prove their opponents the aggressors. After all, with sanctions looming over everyone like the Sword of Damocles, every stakeholder, including the security agencies are on tenterhooks and less likely to be lively. We fear you may have done our democracy more harm than good with this action, and we consider it most unfortunate indeed.
15. In conclusion, we believe that if the United States of America, despite her commanding heights and much longer experience as the acclaimed Bastion of Democracy in the world, is still locked in a fight to defend the integrity of her own electoral processes to this very day, then she ought to accord greater empathy, more civility and much less disruption, to nascent democracies.
16. Please be assured of our high regards always.
MRS FOLASHADE ARIKE AYOADE, Ph.D
Secretary to the Government of Kogi State

Continue Reading

Local News

There’ s Need To Take Another Look At Amended NBC Code – Osinbajo

Published

on

images 11 4 There’ s Need To Take Another Look At Amended NBC Code - Osinbajo

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government needs to revisit the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) amendment of the broadcasting code.
Osinbajo said this on Friday during a session with Nick Clegg, vice-president of Facebook’s policy and communication.
The code, which has stirred a lot of controversy, seeks to regulate content exclusivity, enforce content sharing and empower the NBC to determine prices at which content is sold to sub-licensees by rights holders.
Also, the fine for hate speech has been increased from N500,000 to N5 million.
Osinbajo said there is need to take a second look at the code so as not to “stifle the work of hardworking, creative people”.
“The NBC code is one where the is now activity around trying to take a second look at it. Those who say that it is pro-competition, it is one I think we should take a second look at,” Osinbajo said.
“Basically, it says if you have a licenced product for TV, you’re expected to share it with other platforms. It’s one which I understand the argument of those who say this is a violation of copyright and intellectual property which is a very strong point and this is why I think we have to take a second look at it and see whether there are ways of moderating it to be more acceptable so as not stifle the work of very very hardworking, creative people.”
Ikra Aliyu Bilbis, chairman of the NBC board, had accused Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, of amended the country’s broadcasting code “unilaterally” without involving relevant stakeholders.

Continue Reading

Local News

Visa Ban : Don ’t Disrespect Nigeria , FG Tells US , UK

Published

on

images 8 4 Visa Ban : Don ’t Disrespect Nigeria , FG Tells US , UK

The Federal Government has frowned on the statements issued by the United States and the United Kingdom on the governorship elections holding in Edo State on Saturday (today) and Ondo State on October 10.
It also expressed concern over the visa restrictions imposed by the US on unnamed politicians for alleged involvement in electoral violence during the Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship polls.
Both US and the UK had vowed sanctions on anyone who perpetrated violence during the Edo and Ondo elections, including imposing visa restrictions and blocking them from accessing their assets and prosecuting them under international law.
But reacting to the comments of its western allies on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement stated that it had taken note of their concerns regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo.
The government explained that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before, during, and after the elections.
The statement signed by the MFA spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye, added that Buhari also supported patriotic non-governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar Peace Committee.
Furthermore, it explained that there were ample provisions in the nation’s laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud.
However, it admonished the UK and US to cooperate with the relevant agencies by providing them concrete evidence of observed misconduct “to allow our laws and regulations to take their course.”
The statement added, “It would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally.”
The FG further highlighted that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission and State Independent Electoral Commissions.
“The Federal Government, and especially the President, is committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial, and security support to the electoral process.
“While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the European Union, we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and US to cooperate with our relevant agencies by providing them whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow our laws and regulations to take their course,” the government stated.
Finally, the government expressed solidarity with the American government and people as regards their forthcoming election “which we hope will be free from interference and violence.”

Continue Reading

Trending