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P&ID firm paid $9,969 into director daughter’s account before agreement signing – Witness

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The trial of a former Director, Legal Services of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Grace Taiga, for alleged fraud in the case involving Process and Industrial Development Limited continued on Monday before Justice O. Adeniyi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja.

The fourth prosecution witness, an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s operative, Aminu Lawal, narrated how Taiga received $9,969 bribe through her daughter’s bank account.

The prosecution had presented a 13-count amended charge which was read to the defendant.

She pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Lawal, led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Mohammed Abbah, told the court that the team received a petition dated June 28, 2018, signed by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, conveying the directive of the President that investigation surrounding the circumstances of the Gas Supply and Processing Agreement be carried out.

“I came to know the defendant when the investigation commenced. I discovered that she witnessed the GSPA. She also drafted the GSPA when she was at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources as Director Legal,” the witness said, according to a statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren.

The witness further told the court that the team discovered discrepancies, including an unsigned agreement between the Ministry of Defence and Khristolm Limited.

He reportedly said, “We discovered one unsigned agreement between the Ministry of Defence and Khristolm Limited, a company owned and controlled by P&ID Limited and the promoters of P&ID are Michael Quinn, Brendan Cahill, James Nolan and Niel Hitchob.

“We wrote a letter of investigation to the Ministry of Defence to give us the details of the contract awarded to the companies that are related to P&ID. Investigation revealed that Marsh Pearl Limited was given the contract in which the defendant witnessed the agreement between the Ministry of Defence and Marsh Pearl Limited sometime in 2005.”

The statement said, “The prosecution witness further stated that the team discovered that, on December 30, 2019, Taiga received $4,969.50 through her daughter, Vera Taiga.

“The money was paid by Marsh Pearl Ltd, through her daughter’s account 11 days before the signing of the GSPA. We discovered that on January 30, 2012, the sum of $5,000 was also paid into her daughter’s account at HSBC Bank, London, located at Canada Street.

“The purpose of the payment on the transaction is commission payment. We obtained her statement based on that,” the witness added.

Documents which included search warrant, the response from the Ministry of Defence, details of transactions and Certificate of Compliance were tendered in evidence and admitted by the court.

The case was adjourned till March 8 and 16, 2022, for cross-examination of the witness.

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