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Home Crime Alleged $9.6bn P&ID scam: INTERPOL arrests fleeing Briton in Italy

Alleged $9.6bn P&ID scam: INTERPOL arrests fleeing Briton in Italy

by Nike
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The International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) has arrested a Director of Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Ltd, Mr James Nolan, on Jan. 27 in Italy.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reliably gathered that Nolan, an Irish national, who jumped bail in 2022 in the ongoing 9.6 billion dollars P&ID scandal in Nigeria, was arrested by the INTERPOL while on a visit to his wife, an Italian.

An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s source confirmed the information to NAN.

“Yes, we got the information through informant sources,” the official said.

The source said the next line of action was for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to apply to INTERPOL for Nolan’s extradition back to Nigeria to stand his trial.

Also, Mr Paul Erokoro, SAN, counsel to Nolan, in a telephone chat, said he had also heard about the report.

“There is a report that James Nolan was arrested but the EFCC is actually in the better position to confirm.

“They might have heard from INTERPOL.

“But I have not spoken to him (Nolan) and I don’t have firsthand confirmation but I have heard about the report,” he said.

NAN reports that Nolan, who also has a British citizenship, was at the centre of the controversial Gas Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA) which was signed in 2010.

After he was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the counts preferred against him, a Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, on Nov. 7, 2019, granted him a N500 million bail but the bail was later varied to N100 million due to his inability to meet the bail condition.

However, after he perfected his bail conditions, he failed to appear in court for trial since 2022.

A sister court, where the embattled Irish was also standing trial had, on Sept. 28, 2022, revoked his bail.

The then presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed (now elevated to Appeal Court), in a ruling, issued a bench warrant for his arrest for jumping bail.

Mohammed ordered that Nolan should be arrested by security agencies, including INTERPOL, anywhere he was sighted within or outside Nigeria and be produced in court to stand trial.

“As far as this court is concerned, the absence of the second defendant (Nolan) in court implies he has jumped bail,” he had said.

The judge gave the order after the anti-graft agency’s lawyer, Mr Bala Sanga, made an application to the effect.

He equally granted the EFCC’s request to continue his trial in absentia.

Also a brother judge, Justice Obiora Egwuatu, on July 6, 2023, ordered Nolan’s surety, Mr George Kadiri, to forfeit his N100 million bail bond to the Federal Government over his inability to produce the defendant in court.

Justice Egwuatu, in a ruling after Sanga moved the motion, also ordered Mr Kadiri, who was absent in court, to be remanded in prison custody until the payment of the N100 million.

NAN reports that Nolan is standing trial in about eight other cases for his alleged involvement in the controversial gas supply agreement with the Federal Government.

The contract became subject of litigation following the award of whopping sum of 9.6 billion dollars judgment debt against Nigeria.

While eight of the matters are before the FHC in Abuja, a case is before the FCT High Court, besides the London case.

Meanwhile, the matter fixed for today (Thursday) before Justice Donatus Okorowo of a FHC could not proceed.

While Sanga and Michael Ajara were in court, Justice Okorowo was said to have gone on official engagement.

Nolan had, on Nov. 20, 2023, opened his defence in absentia without calling any witness.

Nolan’s counsel, Mr Ajara, who had told Justice Okorowo that he did not intend to call any witness, said that after his evaluation of the evidence of the prosecution in the matter, he would be relying on the case of the prosecution.

The judge then fixed Feb. 15 for adoption of final written addresses of parties.

Nolan, the 2nd defendant, alongside Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited, the 1st defendant, are being prosecuted in the charged marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/272/2022 for allegations bordering on money laundering offences.

A Business and Property Court in London presided over by Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales had, in October 2023, quashed the 11 billion dollars awarded against Nigeria in a case filed by the P&ID Ltd.

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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