The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the National Intelligence Agency and the Inspector General of Police, have been directed by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the Process and Industrial Developments Ltd which recently secured a UK court order to seize $9.6 bn of Nigeria’s assets.
The development was announced by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Minister stated that the directives of the President are based on the fact that the Federal Government suspected foul play in the deal signed in 2010.
He said, “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.”
“Indications are 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.”
“In view of the above, and in an attempt to unravel the circumstances surrounding the entire transaction, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, with the approval of Mr President, has requested the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the National Intelligence Agency and the Inspector General of Police to conduct a thorough investigation into the company, the circumstances surrounding the agreement and the subsequent event, which includes commencing a full-scale criminal investigation.”
Mohammed stated that despite the ruling of the court, the country is not ready to lose any of its assets.
He added, “Despite the recent recognition of the award by a UK court, and contrary to some reports, Nigeria is not about to lose any of its assets to P&ID. There is no imminent threat to Nigeria’s assets!”
“In the first instance, the enforcement of the award cannot even commence now because the judge in the UK court ordered that theP&ID cannot enforce the judgment against Nigeria until after the court resumes from its current vacation.”
“What this means is that enforcement action cannot begin until a further hearing on the matter, which will take place on a date to be determined by the court upon its resumption.”
“The Federal Government, therefore, wishes to use this opportunity to assure Nigerians that there are no immediate threat to Nigeria’s assets as has been wrongly interpreted by a section of the media.”
“Nigerians should be assured that the Federal Government is taking all necessary steps to appeal the decision of the UK Court, to seek for a Stay of Execution of the decision, to defend its rights and to protect the assets of the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Mohammed was joined at the press conference by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN); Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.