Those behind P&ID contract award unpatriotic, says Malami
• Insists deal was fraudulent, contractor has no legal address
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has described those who authorised the award of the now controversial P&ID gas supply contract as “people who do not have the interest of the Nigeria at heart.”
Addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, he pleaded with Nigerians not to blame President Muhammad Buhari for the $9.6 billion judgment debt, claiming that the deal was an ‘organised scam’ from the outset, as the company allegedly had no lawful address but only operating from a lawyer’s office in the United Kingdom.
Thanking the media for their ‘high level of professionalism in reporting the issues of government’, he, however, reminded the practitioners to heed the advice of Bill Kovach and Tom Rosentiel in their book, The Elements of Journalism, where they noted that that journalism’s first obligation was to tell the truth to the citizens.
Malami pledged that government would not “sell out the interest of the country and the people in order to satisfy some elements who are consciously out to extort Nigerians for their selfish aggrandisement.”He added: “It is to be noted that while we are willing to negotiate and meet the terms of agreements reached with all genuine investors which have done business or are still doing business with Nigeria on mutually beneficial terms, we will not allow fraudulent local and foreign collaborators to rip off the resources of the nation for no just cause in order to be seen as being nice or investor-friendly.
“Those who are clapping for P&ID and blaming Abubakar Malami and the Buhari administration for the huge $9.6 billion slammed on the country as a result of the so-called gas supply and processing contract awarded the firm on January 11, 2010, five years before President Buhari came to power and I became minister, should be kind enough to ask those who awarded the ‘so-called contract’ what it was all about and why there was no attempt by either those who awarded the contract or the contractor to implement even an aspect of it.”
The minister continued: “Nigerians should also ask the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) government that awarded the contract why it was given to a company, whose address is C/O of a lawyer’s office: Trident Chambers, P.O Box 146, Tortola, British Virgin Island and that means the company does not have an office of its own and has no record of executing any project of any kind close to what it was awarded in Nigeria”
According to the AGF, the questions to further ask are: “In whose interest was the critical contract awarded and what was it to achieve? Why was the centre of arbitration taken to London, and not Nigeria, a sovereign nation? Why was the contract not passed on to the Federal Ministry of Justice for vetting? Why was the Federal Executive Council’s approval not sought in the execution of the agreement?”
The minister noted that the judgment was given in June 2014, a year before Buhari came into office, accusing the previous government of allowing the time of appeal to lapse, thus making it impossible for the current administration to either file an appeal or stay of execution except to negotiate with the company.
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