P&ID has no investment in Nigeria, says apex bank

By Elizabeth Christopher and Solomon Chung.

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Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the country’s apex bank, says Process And Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) has not invested a cent in the country.

The Apex bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said this at a press briefing on an English court ruling that P&ID can seize $9.6 billion in Nigeria’s assets over a botched contract.

According to the Apex bank Governor, no record shows presence of the company’s investment in Nigeria.

“On our part as the Central Bank of Nigeria, we note that P&ID is a foreign Company; as a foreign Company if you are investing either in a contract or a project there are various options that we adopt in bringing in your investment.

“If you are bringing in Capital, you fill form A and collect certificate of Capital importation, if you are bringing in machines or assets to execute your contract, you will fill form M and also collect certificate of Capital importation to prove you brought in money; we have gone through our records, we don’t have any information that this company brought in one cent into this country  he explained.

He therefore challenged P&ID to bring up proof of their investment in Nigeria, if any:

“If they have proof of their investments, we are calling on them to please come forward and provide us proof of how they invested in this country.” 

In his remarks, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the contract was designed to fail as it has inherent elements of breaches in it:

“Insinuation abound that the contract was originally designed to fail fundamentally against the background of the fact that there are inherent element of beaches that were designed into it right from inception.

“By the composition of parties to agreement, there are two parties, the P $ ID and the Federal Ministry of Petroleum resources, as you know very well, Federal Ministry of Petroleum resources is not a producer of gas.

“Gas products are produced by IOCs, international Oil Companies, NPDC and perhaps the NNPC. So, when you conceive, sign and execute a contract for the supply of gas product without involving IOC, NPDC and NNPC as a party to that agreement, you know very well that there are a lot of questions to answer arising from the execution of that agreement.

“So these, amongst others, gave rise to insinuation of perhaps certain criminal and fraudulent conspiracy right from conception of the agreement”.

He revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) 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.

Speaking on the next step of action, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said “Nigeria IS NOT about to lose any of its assets to P&ID. There is no imminent threat to Nigeria’s assets!

He added that Nigeria is taking all available steps to resist enforcement of the United Kingdom court judgment.

“It is worth mentioning that in challenging the award, the Federal Government relied upon an expert report analyzing the damages given to the P&ID.

“The expert concluded that the damages were clearly unreasonable and manifestly excessive and exorbitant; went far beyond any legitimate protection of the commercial interest of the P&ID; were completely wrong and obviously unjustifiable; and that the damages overcompensated P&ID on a frankly gargantuan scale and imposed a punitive award on Nigeria,”  explained Mr. Mohammed.

For her part, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning says the award of $9.6billion to the firm is an assault to Nigeria:

“An award of 9.6 billion US dollars is equivalent to 3.5 trillion Naira, 3.5 trillion Naira in our budget would cover our personnel cost which is about 3.2, so this award is unreasonable, that is excessive and exorbitant, it is unfair and is an assault to each and every Nigerian.”

The judgement that was delivered on Friday, 16 August 2019 is a fallout of the contract purportedly entered into in 2010 between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and P&ID. The 20-year Gas Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA) purportedly entered into with the P&ID in 2010 was never executed as agreed.

Amaka E. Nliam