Nigeria

EFCC arraigns P&ID director over money laundering

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday, arraigned a Commercial Director of the Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Limited, Mohammed Kuchazi, for money laundering, among other offences.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday, arraigned a Commercial Director of the Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Limited, Mohammed Kuchazi, for money laundering, among other offences.

A statement by the EFCC said Mr Kuchazi was arraigned alongside his company, Kore Holdings Limited, before Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the eight counts which the defendants allegedly committed in 2014.

Aside from accusing the defendants of engaging in money laundering, the prosecution alleged that Mr Kuchazi and his company failed to comply with the regulations of the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) as stipulated by the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.

It also accused them of failing to comply with the requirement of submitting to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, a declaration of the activities of his company.

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The Commission said the offences were contrary to Section 16(1) (f) read together with section 5(1) (a) (ii) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act”.

Court hearing

After the defendants pleaded not guilty on Monday, prosecuting counsel, Bala Sanga, urged the judge to remand Mr Kuchazi in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Centre and adjourn for trial.

But the defence counsel, Aniah Ikwen, appealed to the court to grant his client bail on health grounds.

The trial judge, Mrs Ogunbanjo-Giwa, said she would not grant bail to the defendant without the prosecution being served with the bail application.

She remanded the defendant in EFCC’s custody and adjourned till February 4 for hearing of the bail application.

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She also fixed subsequent dates, April 27 and 28, for commencement of trial.

P&ID’s case with Nigeria

P&ID had secured a $9.6 billion award against Nigeria following the non-execution of a 20-year gas and supply processing agreement (GSPA) it had with the federal government.

Under the terms of the agreement, P&ID was to build and operate an Accelerated Gas Development project to be located at Adiabo in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State.

The firm sued Nigeria before a U.K court that authorised the P&ID, and secured a ruling in its favour over the failed gas contract.

Last September, Ross Cranston of the UK Business & Property Courts (commercial court) granted Nigeria’s application for a stay of execution of the award of $8.9 billion (about N3.2 trillion) in favour of P&ID.

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