Investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have revealed how Grace Taiga, former director of legal affairs at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, is linked to the $9.6 million Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) scandal.
Umar Babangida, a prosecution witness for the EFCC, told the court on Thursday that Ms Taiga attended meetings, issued memos and signed correspondence on behalf of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources regarding the contract.
Ms Taiga is being prosecuted by the EFCC on 13 amended counts bordering on money laundering offences.
What the witness says in his testimony
Mr Babangida, who is the first prosecution witness in the case, is also the head of the P&ID special investigation unit at the EFCC.
As he was introduced into evidence by EFFC’s lawyer, he said: “From the documents we received from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, which include minutes of meetings, internal memoranda and other correspondence, we found that the Respondent (Taiga) participated in meetings, issued memos and signed correspondence on behalf of the Department of Petroleum Resources. .
“This is dated before the signing of the GSPA (Gas Supply Processing Agreement) and after the signing of the GSPA which confirms to the investigation team its role during and after the GSPA.”
Babangida said investigations revealed that the gas supply and processing agreement was signed between the ministry and P&ID on January 11, 2010.
He said that prior to this, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the ministry and P&ID on July 22, 2009,
Speaking further, he said: “Upon further review of the GSPA, we discovered that the Federal Government, through the Department of Petroleum Resources, was to supply P&ID with 150 million standard cubic feet per day of wet gas from the operated OML123 by Addax Petroleum Ltd as part of the first phase.
“And in the second phase, the Department of Petroleum Resources on behalf of the Federal Government was to supply 250 million standard cubic feet per day of wet gas to P&ID Limited.
“The company was to turn wet gas into lean gas for power generation and supply 80% of the processed gas to the federal government for power generation.
“The processing residues and by-products were to be used by P&ID to be sold on the local market or on the international market.
“The product is free to the Federal Government and was expected to last 20 years from the date the GSPA was signed.”
He said investigations also revealed that the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Rilwan Lukman, signed the document on behalf of the Ministry, in the presence of the Respondent (Ms. Taiga).
Mr Babangida told the court that during the investigations, the Commission invited Ms Taiga to explain the gas supply processing agreement of which she identified two documents and said that the two documents had been signed when she was director of legal affairs at the ministry.
Speaking further, he said: “She informed the team that her schedule as legal director includes providing legal advice to the ministry, drafting documents, which include agreements and reports, representing the ministry in legal matters in court and accomplishment of any other matter entrusted to it by the Honorable Minister. petroleum resources.
“She also informed the team that she had been assigned to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources by the Ministry of Justice and represented the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) in that capacity.
“She also informed the team that the draft GSPA agreement had been forwarded to the AGF office for review, approval and further guidance.”
According to the witness, she said that the Ministry of Justice could attest to her statement, which led the commission to send a letter to the ministry confirming Ms. Taiga’s statement.
However, the investigation team received a response indicating that there was no evidence of receipt of a draft agreement from the Ministry of Justice.
“We have received a response from the Ministry of Justice signed by the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice that after a careful and thorough search of their records and records there was no evidence of receipt of the ministry’s draft agreement. of Justice,”
He said the investigative team also sent a letter to the Secretary of the Federation Government, seeking approval from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the project and the GSPA.
He also said that a letter had been sent to the CAC requesting the incorporation documents of Process and Industrial Development Nig Ltd of which it was revealed that a lawyer, Adamu Usman Mohammed, is a director with 90% of the capital.
He said that when the Commission invited Mr. Mohammed for questioning, he denied knowledge of the GSPA and he also denied the existence of the foreign company Process and Industrial Development Ltd.