The real story behind the controversy involving the Nigerian Government and a UK-registered shell Company, Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) Limited, is finally unfolding. The details you are about to read are the outcome of painstaking investigations that have thrown up some exclusive details.
What is now emerging is that this is another case of a dodgy financial arrangement entered into by previous administrations, which the Buhari Administration, which took office in May 2015, is now being forced to deal with and resolve.
Presidency sources informed PoliticsNGR that the MOU that kickstarted the entire controversy was signed by in July 2009 by the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, the late Alhaji Rilwanu Lukman, purportedly on behalf of the Nigerian Government, and an Irish businessman, Michael Quinn, on behalf of the shadowy British Virgin Islands-registered company, Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) Limited.
Michael Quinn is said to have made a name for himself in his native Ireland as a successful manager for well-known music bands, between the 1960s and the 1980s. He gave it up to start a new career in the oil business in the early 1980s, becoming an oil trader dealing in Nigerian oil, from his base in Dublin, Ireland
The MOU and subsequent agreement was styled as a ‘Gas Supply and Processing Agreement for Accelerated Gas Development,’ our sources disclosed.
Under the Agreement, P&ID was supposed to receive allocations of natural gas, guaranteed by the Nigerian Government, which it would then process for use for power generation in the country. In the fraudulent arrangement, the Nigerian Government was reportedly saddled with the responsibility of securing gas supplies and ensuring that all infrastructure was in place, in a deal that analysts who spoke to us unanimously agreed was totally skewed against Nigeria, and would not stand up to any serious legal or judicial scrutiny.
An agreement reportedly followed in January 2010, during a period in which the then President Umar Yar’Adua was sick and away from Nigeria, in Saudi Arabia. At the time the ailing President had failed to hand over the reins of power to his Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, and there was a lot of controversy as to who was really running the country. It would later emerge that by this time the President was brain-dead and unable to function in any way.
It is believed that the late Alhaji Lukman took advantage of the lacuna in the government at this time to perfect the dodgy deal, which was reportedly done without the input or knowledge of the NNPC. The IOCs were supposed to supply the gas involved in the deal, but even they were not informed in any way or carried along in the signing of the various agreements.
“Can you imagine that neither the NNPC, nor any of its subsidiaries involved in the sale and supply of gas, was aware of this deal. The IOCs that were supposed to make the gas available, alongside the NNPC, were also not aware. What manner of fraudulent behaviour is that?” a senior official of the Petroleum Ministry queried, when contacted. “Is that done anywhere in the world? The whole agreement was a scam from the beginning, designed to benefit the people who came up with it and took advantage of the illness of Yar’Adua to sign it. If P&ID was a serious company they would never have entered into that kind of agreement in the first place. But we know they are not a serious firm, more like a fraudulent enterprise set up in a tax haven solely for the purpose of exploiting Nigeria in collusion with Nigerians.”
This meant that from inception the Agreement was doomed to fail. And it did, shortly afterwards. No gas was ever supplied or processed, as there was nothing in place to make this happen. The deal was simply a racket by senior officials of the Ministries of Petroleum Resources and Justice, under the Yar’Adua/Jonathan Administration, working with an unknown foreign company to milk Nigeria’s resources.
In 2012 P&ID began Arbitration in the UK, against the Nigerian Government. Their case was premised on a breach of contract, they claimed that Nigeria’s inability to honour the agreement had resulted in grievous financial losses to them.
Liability hearings commenced in July 2015, just as the Buhari Administration was taking office. In the meantime, both Rilwanu Lukman and Michael Quinn, the two signatories to the ill-fated and illegal agreement, had died. Lukman died in July 2014, and Quinn died in February 2015. Both reportedly died of illness.
It is unclear who was pursuing the liability hearings following the deaths of the two principal actors. In January 2017, the Arbitration Court proclaimed a final award of $6.6 billion, plus 7 percent interest per annum, calculated from March 2013, against the Nigerian Government (amounting to in excess of two billion dollars).
Analysts are still wondering how a UK court can award a judgement on the basis of an agreement that was illegal in the first place.
In March 2018, P&ID shopped around for a US District Court in Washington to try and enforce the payment of the judgement awarded against Nigeria, and the Court in June 2018 reportedly affirmed the award, raising suspicions of an unethical collusion and perversion of justice on the part of the US Court.
The Nigerian Government is insisting that there is no cause for alarm, and that the P&ID case is headed nowhere. “This is another of the many shady deals that the previous administrations got Nigeria into, which the Buhari Administration is determined to resolve with no loss to Nigeria,” a Justice Ministry official disclosed. “What P&ID is actually celebrating as a judgement is merely a default entry by a Court Clerk. It’s a joke, let’s be honest. Rest assured President Buhari will not allow even one kobo of Nigeria’s money to fall into the hands of these international fraudsters masquerading as investors. It will never happen, you can take that to the bank.”