Looking at the Process & Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) case against Nigeria Government at a glance, even as a layman, you will notice that it is a highly, well organised and sophisticated type of advance fee fraud (419). The huge reward from the fraudulent contract award was designed to be legally realised outside Nigeria. The behaviour, desperation of P&ID and the calibre of voices, both at home and abroad, that are persuading Nigeria Government to settle the case out of Court even when there are still several Courts’ channels available to the Government to get justice confirmed the high-level conspiracy in the matter. They want the case to end quickly in order to cover up the people that are accomplices in the fraudulent contract award. They are aware, as the case goes to upper Courts in appeal the less chances they have to harvest the proceeds of their fraud.
Under no circumstances should Buhari Government settle the fraudulent contract out of Court or honour any Tribunals or Courts’ judgement in the case. This is because the case is about a matter that took place in Nigeria and should have jurisdiction in the country. Under no circumstances should Buhari Government cede Nigeria jurisdiction. Any contract on any matter about a project or transaction that takes place or shall take place in Nigeria that contain any clause that cedes jurisdiction to a foreign country is and should be void ab initio. Nigeria is a sovereign country and needs not under any circumstances cede her jurisdiction to another country.
We should remember that we as a country or as individuals and black people do not as such have justice in any foreign countries. When any of us walked into any Courts, especially the lower Courts, in any foreign countries, even before the case is heard, you have already lost the case whether you are the Defendant or plaintiff. For example, in the United Kingdom (UK), at the Magistrates Courts, their Police can do no wrong. If you are black and have any case such as minor motor vehicle driving issue with the Police at the Magistrates Court, you are guilty from the time you stepped into the Court, especially where lay Magistrates judges are presiding.
Although black people are no angels; in the same or similar case where the Police will report a black person for prosecution a white person will not be reported. In the same or similar case where a white person is not found guilty a black person will be found guilty. In the same or similar case where a white person is found guilty and sentence to one-year imprisonment a black person will get at least five years. An African, a surgeon of many years’ experience in the UK hospitals, in a medical negligence case, where a white patient died in operating theatre, was found guilty. He was sentence to five years imprisonment. His colleague, a white man, who together with him performed the operation, was found not guilty. It took further case review and appeal before the African surgeon was cleared but after serving his term of imprisonment. The United State of America (USA) is not different if not worse than UK on injustice against black people.
It is from these experiences of prejudice and miscarriage of justice, when it comes to black people, Nigeria Government must think twice before recognising any judgement or conviction at any foreign Courts. Yet some of these foreign countries, especially UK and USA, have strong and adequate laws which prohibit discrimination and racism. But any law can neither enforce nor interpret itself. Some of those who are charged with responsibility to enforce and interpret the laws often use their positions to foment their personal prejudice as searchlight is not normally and immediately beamed at them for accountability. These are even worse where huge money could accrue to them. You can see the speed at which hefty damages were awarded and judgement debt made against Nigeria Government both at their Tribunal and High Court in a supposed clear case of fraudulent intention by P&ID. The Nigeria Government statement of case may not even have been listened to let alone considered.
As there are enough good grounds for successful appeal of the case, what Buhari Government should do now:
-the Government should field the experienced and best legal brains we have, both at home and abroad, for the case.
-engage two top British barristers who will work with our legal team in the preparation and together to argue the case in the Court.
-do not engage a British legal firm to prepare or to handle the case. All you need are two top British barristers and our legal team. In the UK barristers always know the mind of Judges in any case, the direction the Judges are headed and not the preparing legal firm who merely engage barristers that were not part of the preparation of a case from the beginning.
-then make application to the British Appeal Court for a stay of execution while at the same time appeal the Tribunal and High Court verdicts. For example:
-the contract was designed to fail in a conspiracy to swindle the Federal Government ab initio.
-P&ID that was allegedly only formed in 2006 has not the experience, record of similar large work and actual capability to execute a contract of such magnitude.
-should any Tribunal or Court award any damages for loss of projected profit which P&ID never had the capacity to earn before nor the facilities to execute a big project to earn?
-how could purported expenditure incurred before a contract was awarded in what could be described as bidding expenses become losses that qualified for damages award?
-the project was not meant to be a learning curve for P&ID.
-P&ID never laid a brick to start the project let alone to say the project was say a quarter, half or three quarters complete, in the absence of fraud, to warrant minimal damages, etc.
Although the much-boasted judgement debt enforcement by P&ID which is even now being promoted by its representatives and accomplices has not yet been granted, any Judges that grant such to a company as P&ID are only asking for serious retaliatory measures against their country. Why should a normal company which has nothing to hide from authorities seek offshore and safe haven for registration and domicile? Do these not again demonstrated the connivance and conspiracy to swindle Nigeria Government I stated earlier?
Any honest and fair Court should be able to grant an application for a stay of execution on the case as Buhari Government inherited the case and needs time to investigate the circumstances leading to the award of the fraudulent contract. On granting application for a stay, the appeal will not be heard until Buhari Government concluded its finding. If the application for a stay of execution fails at the British Appeal Court, Buhari Government can take the application to the British Supreme Court. If the application succeeds, the Supreme Court will direct Appeal Court to hear the appeal. Even if the application fails at the Supreme Court, it can still direct Appeal Court to hear the appeal.
But Buhari Government can ignore the directive of the British Supreme Court on a failed application for a stay of execution and take it to European Court of Justice. The European Court will no doubt grant the application for a stay of execution and for Buhari Government to carry out its finding at home. However, the European Court on granting the application will direct the British Appeal Court to hear the appeal on the case only after Buhari Government had concluded its finding at home within certain time limit.
Buhari Government must neither be in haste, persuaded nor through naivety negotiate any settlement or pay out any sum thereof to settle the matter out of Court or payment on account of any judgement. This is because the fraudulent contract was designed ab initio to swindle Nigeria. The Nigerians who are culpable in the case must not be shield by Buhari Government at the expense of the country. The amount of $9.6bn is not a petty cash for any country to give away. As we have world class lawyers, the case should be a fight to finish as a lesson to foreign swindlers who over the years took advantage of some Nigerians’ ignorance, desperation and gullibility for easy and quick money.
If Buhari Government’s appeal to the British Appeal Court does not succeed, the Government must take the case to the British Supreme Court. If the appeal again fails at the Supreme Court, the appeal must be taken to European Court of Justice. Even if UK has left European Union by the time of the appeal, the European Court will still have jurisdiction to hear the case. This is mainly because the plaintiff in the case, P&ID, has Ireland connection. Ireland is a full member of European Union. P&ID which is registered in British Virgin Islands, a UK’s safe haven colony, is only using UK’s jurisdiction as its safe haven to get away with its desire to fleece Nigeria Government.
But Buhari Government in its application/appeal could leapfrog Commercial Court to the British Appeal Court or straight to the British Supreme Court, even to European Court of Justice. The main reasons Buhari Government could give are; the UK has interest in the case. P&ID is a UK registered and domicile company through British Virgin Islands, a safe haven, which is a UK colony. It is, therefore, a British tax payer. The actual neutral jurisdiction ground in the case is the European Court of Justice.
Buhari Government must summons all those involved and perceived to be involved in the fraudulent contract award for investigation. Although some of the names are already in public domain, those to be summons should include the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the chairman of the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the time of the fraudulent contract award. Any advance fee paid to P&ID, if any, the amount of bribe P&ID in return may have paid and the share of the money by all those involved in the fraudulent contract award should be investigated.
In June 2009, Charles Soludo left the CBN as its Governor. Sanusi, who is now the Emir of Kano, was appointed the Governor by Yar’Adua, who was then the President of Nigeria. At the time Nigeria’s foreign reserve was $67bn. During the six months when Yar’Adua was in a coma in hospital and eventually his death, Goodluck Jonathan was shut out of the Government by northern cabal. They ran the Federal Government behind close door. Goodluck Jonathan was only allowed to take-over the Presidency of the country on 9 February 2010 only by the enactment of Doctrine of Necessity by the Senate.
The P&ID fraudulent contract award was finalised within the six months Yar’Adua was in a coma, in hospital and eventually his death, and concluded in January 2010 before Goodluck Jonathan took over the Presidency of Nigeria on 9 February 2010. The role Goodluck Jonathan may have played thereafter when the fraudulent contract award was now being disputed was to order the matter to be taken to a foreign Tribunal for arbitration. He ought to have insisted on Nigeria jurisdiction on the matter. This may have been impossible for Goodluck Jonathan at the time because of the very strong and influential northern cabal that surrounded him and his Government at the time. But this should not be an excuse for not insisting on Nigeria jurisdiction. Nigeria is bigger than any northern cabal. Buhari Government who now inherited the case should now in its appeal reverse all of the shortcomings of Goodluck Jonathan Government in the case. As said above there are enough good grounds for Buhari Government successful appeal.
At the time Goodluck Jonathan took over the Presidency on 9 February 2010, the balance on our foreign reserve was only $38bn. A total of $38bn which is equal to the balance vanished from the foreign reserve within the first seven months from June 2009 when Sanusi took over the Governorship of the CBN.
Foreign reserve as at June 2009 was $67bn.
Earning from exports for the year 2009 was $50bn;
Seven month of this = 50/12 x 7 = $29bn
Payment for imports, etc. for the year 2009 was $34bn
Seven months of this = 34/12 x 7 = $20bn
The supposed gross foreign reserve as at the end of the year 2009 was $67bn + $29bn = $96bn.
The supposed seven months imports payment to the end of the year 2009 was $20bn
The supposed net foreign reserve at the end of the year 2009 was $96bn – $20bn = $76bn
Balance on foreign reserve as at 9 February 2010, when Jonathan took over Presidency was $38bn
Amount of foreign reserve that vanished in seven months was $76 – $38 = $38bn
The amount of $38bn vanished from our foreign reserve within only seven months of Sanusi’s tenure at CBN while Yar’Adua was in coma and eventually his death. What then did the northern cabal who ran the Federal Government, shut Jonathan out from Government and awarded the fraudulent contract do with the shortfall of $38bn in our foreign reserve? The above are the issues before Buhari Government in the P&ID fraudulent contract award and the $38bn that vanished from our foreign reserve for investigation at home before an appeal on the case is heard. The balance on foreign reserve on 9 February 2010 the date Jonathan took over the Presidency should have been $76bn ($38 +$38). What a clever and convenient amount which is equal to the amount of the balance declared to be misappropriated! Net of remittances was ignored in the calculation because it was far minimal than as it is today.
One is here compelled to ask; where were the Federal Government owned news media; Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), particularly its subsidiary Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). With foresight and effective investigative journalism, NTA ought to have got wind of this P&ID fraudulent contract being negotiated and then trailed them to report it to the nation or carry out a sting operation at a crucial time for the fraudulent contract to be terminated. NBC and its subsidiaries such as NTA should not just be independent on paper, they should be seen to be independent or force such on the authorities, even through the Courts. They are not established to worship the Government of the day or to be praise singers to those in authority. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) upon which the Nigeria version of the news media was moulded has been there for our NBC to emulate. Today, without the BBC in its independent operation, effective watchdog, foresight and investigative journalism, even all over the world; there will be no UK.
As things are now in the country, Buhari Government should;
-stop its segmental preferential treatment; this is the time unity of the country is paramount;
-put the Police department back to the Ministry of Interior and under the Minister of Interior;
-decentralise the Police Force, create Independent Police Commands not State Governments Police;
-devote more of the time and resources of the Federal Government to stopping insecurity;
-set up investigation panel at each geo-political zone to investigate all the corruption cases and financial crimes that took place in the country from 1986 – 2018;
-investigate all the previous and similar cases as the current P&ID fraudulent contract award where damages were awarded against the Federal and State Governments by home and foreign Courts and money was paid.
In those cases where frauds are discovered, go back to the various Courts to claim our money back. An appeal or claim for fraud or fraudulent contract award or transaction is not statute bar or has no time limit for claim back. There are so many of such cases, past and present in the country.
The National Assembly should enact the enabling laws which prohibit the ceding of Nigeria jurisdiction to any foreign countries in any contract award or transaction that takes place in or to be executed in Nigeria. Until we solved most if not all of the past corruption cases and financial crimes from 1986 – 2018; Nigeria will not be able to move forward in harmony, as such wrong past if unsolved will always resurrect to cloud the present and future.