By Taiye Agbaje
Abuja, Aug. 18, 2020 The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Tuesday, filed fresh charges bordering on money laundering against a Briton linked with alleged scam in the Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Nigeria Ltd., Mr James Nolan.
Nolan was arraigned by the EFCC before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, alongside six companies in six separate charges.
Naija247news reports that while the EFCC is the complainant, Nolan and the six companies are 2nd and 1st defendants respectively in the six different charges.
The companies are: Ecophoenix Nigeria Ltd, Lurgi Consult Ltd, Kristholm Nigeria Ltd, Marshpearl Nigeria Ltd, L.I.R. Resources Nigeria Ltd and Babcock Electrical Projects Ltd.
At the court session on Tuesday, the anti-graft agency arraigned Nolan alongside Lurgi Consult LTD on 8 counts with suit no: FHC/ABI/CR/143/20
In the second charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/144/20, he is answering to five counts alongside Kristholm Nigeria LTD.
In the third charge with suit no: FHC/ABJ/CR/145/20, Marshpeal Nigeria ltd and Nolan are faced with six counts.
In another charge marked: FHC/ABI/CR/146/20, the EFCC preferred six counts against Nolan and Babcock Electrical Projects Ltd.
Also, the British national is answering to a six-count charge in a suit no: FHC/ABI/CR/147/20 together with L.I.R. Resources Nigeria Ltd.
In the sixth charged marked FHC/AB)/CR/148/20, Nolan and Ecophoenix Nigeria Ltd are faced with a six-count charge.
In the eight-count charge involving Ecophoenix Nigeria Ltd and Nolan (1st and 2nd defendants respectively), the duo was accused of acting in contravention to the Money Laundering Act.
“That you, Ecophoenix Ltd, being a designated non-financial institution; Adam Quinn (at large), a director of Ecophoenix Ltd and James Nolan, a director of Ecophoenix Ltd; sometime in September 2013, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, failed to copy with the requirements of submitting to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, a declaration of the activities of Ecophoemix Ltd as specified under Section 5(1)(a)(ii) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and you therefore committed an offence punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act,” the first count read.
The anti-graft agency also accused the company, Nolan and Quinn, who is also a director in P&ID Nigeria Ltd, of failure to report in writing to the EFCC a lodgment of the sum of N16, 400, 000. 00 from one Dikko Mohammed Abdullahi into Ecophoenix Ltd bank account domiciled in a commercial bank on July 22, 2014, as specified in the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, among others.
The other five charges were also read one after another to Nolan, who pleaded not guilty to them.
The EFCC Counsel, Bala Sanga, had informed the court that the charges dated July 24 were filed July 27.
“The two defendants were served on 29th of July, 2020. I urge that the charges be read to the defendants,” he said.
However, Sanga prayed the court that Nolan should be remanded in a correctional service centre pending when his bail would be perfected.
Paul Erokoro, SAN, lawyer to the Briton, objected to the prayer.
The lawyer, who cited an old case to back his argument, said Section 158 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) gives an opportunity to a defendant to be admitted to bail.
“And we rely on the fact that the defendant had already been admitted to bail by this honourable court in a sister case in the charge number: FHC/ABJ/CR/239/2019 pending and being held by your learner brother, Justice Okon Abang, sitting at court 6.
“We pray that the terms of bail granted by this court in a sister case as varied by the Court of Appeal on July 7, 2020, with charge number: CA/97C/2020 be adopted by this honourable court and apply to this present trial,” he said.
Erokoro also told the court that they were ready for the commencement of the trial.
Sanga, who said he had no objection to the terms of the bail giving by the appellate court, said the commission’s concern was for the defendant to present himself for trial.
Justice Mohammed, after listening to the arguments, ordered that Nolan should be admitted to bail on the conditions given by the sister court as varied by the Appeal Court.
He adjourned the matter until Oct. 5 for trial.
NAN reports that P&ID, an Irish engineering company, had secured a $9.6 billion award against Nigeria following the non-execution of a 20-year gas and supply processing agreement (GSPA) the company had with the Federal Government.
The Federal Government has, however, appealed the judgment in a London high court.