The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has charged two Britons for alleged money laundering in connection with an ill-fated gas deal.
You can read all about the gas deal with a company called Process & Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) here.
The federal government will have to forfeit assets worth more than $9 billion to P&ID if the suit goes the company’s way.
Reuters reports that this week, James Richard Nolan and Adam Quinn pleaded not guilty in an Abuja court to 16 counts of money laundering as put forward by the EFCC.
The judge remanded Nolan in prison until his application for bail is considered.
Quinn remains at large and Nolan’s defense lawyer entered a plea on his behalf.
The case against the Britons
The EFCC said in a statement that both men were directors of two companies that the agency alleged failed to report to the anti-graft agency a single deposit of $125,000 into a local account.
They are also accused of failing to comply with local requirements to declare their activities to the trade and investment ministry.
The charges relate to the 2010 contract with British Virgin Islands-based P&ID.
P&ID was contracted to build and operate a gas-processing plant in the southeastern port city of Calabar.
Billions of dollars at stake
After the contract was breached, P&ID dragged Nigeria’s federal government to an international arbitration court, eventually winning a $6.6 billion award.
That $6.6 billion has been accruing interest since 2013 and is now worth more than $9 billion.
The government has said the deal was designed to fail and called the award “an assault on every Nigerian and unfair.”
President Muhammadu Buhari calls the deal a scam.
P&ID said the EFCC has harassed, intimidated and denied due process to individuals associated with the company and the contract.
The EFCC has also charged a former petroleum ministry official with accepting bribes and failing to follow protocol.
The trial of the two Britons is scheduled for November 20 and 21, 2019.