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Alleged $9.6bn P&ID scam: Hearing in EFCC’s suit against fleeing Briton stalled

Alleged $9.6bn P&ID scam: Hearing in EFCC’s suit against fleeing Briton stalled

Hearing in two separate money laundering suits filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against British national, James Nolan, could not proceed on Wednesday at a Federal High Court, Abuja.

The matter, which was scheduled for adoption of final written addresses of parties by Justice Donatus Okorowo, suffered setback due to failure of Nolan’s counsel, Michael Ajara, to file and serve his processes on the EFCC”s lawyer, Bala Sanga.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Okorowo had, on Nov. 20, 2023, fixed today for adoption of the final addresses after Nolan, who jumped bail and fled Nigeria in the alleged 9.6 billion dollars Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Ltd scandal, opened his defence in absentia without calling any witness.

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Ajara had told the judge that he did not intend to call any witness upon resumed hearing in the matter in the last adjourned date.

He said after his evaluation of the EFCC’s evidence, he would rely on the case of the prosecution and Sanga did not object, upon which the matter was fixed for today.

When the matter was called on Wednesday, Ajara had not filed their final written address.

The lawyer prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him do the needful.

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The anti-graft agency’s lawyer, Christie Makar, who held Sanga’s brief, did not oppose the oral application.

Justice Okorowo consequently adjourned the matter until May 6 for adoption of final written addresses.

NAN reports that the EFCC is prosecuting Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited and Nolan in the charged marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/272/2022 as 1st and 2nd defendants in the case.

Also, the commission is also prosecuting the sister case marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/273/2022 filed against Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Ltd, another company, and Corrado Fantoli as 1st and 2nd defendants respectively before Okorowo.

Fantoli, also a foreigner and an associate of Nolan, was one of the suspects behind the alleged $9.6 billion P&ID fraud.

The suspect, said to be at large, alongside the company, was arraigned in absentia on Nov. 25, 2022, on eight-count money laundering charge.

He was not present in court or represented by a lawyer when they were arraigned.

The court also declared him wanted and ordered for his arrest anywhere he is sighted after Sanga made application to the effect.

Fantoli and Giovanna Beccarelli, who had also been declared wanted and an arrest warrant issued against her, were said to be directors and signatories to the company’s Guaranty Trust Bank account number: 0123849451.

Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Ltd and Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited are two of the over 30 companies associated with the $9.6 billion scam.

NAN reports that other cases linked to the scandal are currently before Justice Ahmed Mohammed, Justice Obiora Egwuatu, Justice Zainab Abubakar of FHC, Abuja, besides other charges at FCT High Courts.

A Business and Property Court in London presided over by Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales had, in October, quashed the 11 billion dollars awarded against Nigeria in a case filed by the P&ID.

Judge Knowles held that the award was obtained by fraud and that what had happened in the case was contrary to public policy.

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Written by Nike

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