The Federal Government says preliminary investigations has revealed local and international conspiracy in the purported gas contract leading to award of $9.6 billion judgement debt against Nigeria.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) disclosed this at a media briefing on Tuesday in Abuja.
The briefing organised by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed also had in attendance the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed and the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
Malami said that the preliminary investigations revealed that the contract from conception was bound to fail because of deliberate inherent elements designed into it.
“I want to draw attention first to the composition of parties in the agreements which are the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources (FMPR) and the company, Process and Industrial Developments Ltd. (P&ID).
“As you rightly know, the federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources is not a producer of gas.
“Gas products are produced by International Oil Companies (IOC) and NNPC.
“When you conceive, sign and execute a contract for the supply of gas products without involving the IOC and NNPC as parties to the agreement, you know very well that there are lot of questions to answer rising from the conception of the contract.
“This, among others, gave rise to the insinuation of fraudulent conspiracies right from the conception of the agreement.
“The fact remains that you cannot sign an agreement to provide a product that you do not have.
“The Ministry of Petroleum Resources does not have oil field and gas products but it went ahead to sign the agreement without involving those that are producers of gas products,’’ he said.
Malami said President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that a full scale investigation be carried out on the circumstances that led to the award.
He said the country, through the contract, was subjected to unnecessary economic sabotage and investigation would unravel those involved in the deal.
Corroborating Malami’s position, the CBN Governor said the claim by P&ID that it spent $40 million on the botched contract was not correct.
“We have heard that the contractors in this case claimed that they spent $40 million in the project.
“On our part in CBN, we know that as a foreign company, if you are investing in a contract or project in Nigeria, there are various options that you adopt.
“If you are bringing in machines into the country to execute a contract, you must fill certain forms and pay some money through the CBN. We have gone through our records but we do not have any information to show that the company brought in one cent into the country for the purported project.
“We have accordingly written to the EFCC and other agencies investigating the case.
“Time has come that Nigerians should rise against those who claim to do business in Nigeria without investing a penny in the country but all with an intention to defraud the country.
“The money they are plotting to take belongs to all of us,’’ he said
The Finance Minister said the case was weighty, considering the fact that the awarded $9.6 billion is equivalent to N3.5 trillion.
“N3.5 trillion in our national budget will be covering for us recurrent votes if not more.
“Apart from being exorbitant, it is unfair and an assault to every Nigerian,’’ she said
According to Ahmed, every Nigerian must come together to ensure that the judgment is set aside because the consequences will affect everyone.
It will be recalled that in January 2010, the FMPR entered into a 20-year gas and supply processing agreement (GSPA) with P&ID to build a gas processing facility.