April 1, 2022 In ex-director, reveals

EFCC reveals how ex-director at petroleum ministry is linked to the $9.6billion P&ID scam

Investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have revealed how Grace Taiga, former Director of Legal, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, is linked to the $9.6 million Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) scandal.

Umar Babangida, a prosecution witness by the EFCC told the court on Thursday that Mrs Taiga participated in meetings, issued memos and signed correspondence on behalf of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources regarding the contract.

Mrs Taiga is being prosecuted by the EFCC on 13-count amended charges bordering on money laundering offences.

What the witness is saying in his testimony

Mr Babangida who is the first prosecution witness in the case is also the Head, Special Investigation Unit on P&ID in EFCC.

While being led in evidence by EFFC’s counsel, he said, “From the documents we received from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, which include minutes of meetings, internal memos and other correspondence, we discovered that the defendant (Taiga) participated in meetings, issued memos and signed the correspondence on behalf of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

This is dated before the signing of the GSPA (Gas Supply Processing Agreement) and after the signing of GSPA which confirms to the investigating team her role during and after the GSPA.”

Mr 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 prior to that, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the ministry and P&ID on July 22, 2009,

Speaking further he said, “On further review of the GSPA, we discovered that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, was to provide P&ID with 150 million standard cubic feet per day of wet gas from OML123 operated by Addax Petroleum Ltd under the first phase.

“And in the second phase, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources on behalf of the Federal Government was to provide 250 million standard cubic feet per day of wet gas to the company, P&ID Limited.

“The company was to process the wet gas into lean gas for power generation and to supply 80 per cent of the processed gas back to the Federal Government for power generation.

“The residue and by-product of the processing was to be utilised by P&ID either to sell in the local market or international market.

The product is at no cost to the Federal Government and was to last for 20 years from the date of signing the GSPA.”

He said investigations also revealed that the then minister of petroleum resources, Dr Rilwan Lukman signed the document on behalf of the ministry which was witnessed by the defendant (Mrs Taiga).

Mr Babangida told the court that during investigations, the Commission invited Mrs Taiga to explain the gas supply processing agreement of which she identified two documents and said both documents were signed when she was director of Legal at the ministry.

Speaking further he said, “She Informed the team that her schedule of duties as director legal, includes giving legal advice to the ministry, drafting documents, which include agreements and reports and representing the ministry in legal matters in court and carrying out any other matters assigned to her by honourable minister of Petroleum Resources.

She also informed the team that she was posted to Ministry of Petroleum Resources from the Ministry of Justice and she was representing the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) in that capacity.

“She also informed the team that the draft agreement of GSPA was forwarded to the office of the AGF for vetting, approval and further directives.”

According to the witness, she said the ministry of justice could attest to her statement which led to the commission sending a letter to the ministry to confirm Mrs Taiga’s statement.

However, the investigations team received a response that there was no evidence of receipt of draft agreement from the Ministry of Justice.

“We 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 careful and thorough search of their records and archive, there was no evidence of receipt of draft agreement from the Ministry of Justice,”

He said the investigation team also sent a letter to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, requesting for approval from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the project and the GSPA.

He also said a letter was sent to the CAC demanding the incorporation records of Process and Industrial Development Nig Ltd of which it was revealed that one barrister Adamu Usman Mohammed is a director with 90% equity.

He said when the Commission invited Mr Mohammed for questioning, he denied having knowledge of the GSPA and he also denied the existence of the foreign company, Process and Industrial Development Ltd.