10th January, 2022
The trial of Grace Taiga, a former Director, Legal Services of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, for alleged fraud in the case involving Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) resumed on Monday, 10, Jan 2022.
The case which is before Justice O.A Adeniyi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court Abuja had the fourth witness of the prosecution, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) testify against the former director.
At the commencement of hearing, the prosecution presented a thirteen-count amended charge which was read to the defendant.
Count 12 of the charge says Mrs Taiga on or about the 30th of December, 2009 received $4,969.5 paid by Marshpearl Limited, a company controlled by the owners and promoters of Process and Industrial Development (P&ID)- into HSBC bank account of her daughter, Enameg Vera Moses Taiga who lives in London.
The count says the money was in relation to Gas Supply and Processing Agreement(GSPA) between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and P&ID which led to the execution of the GSPA sometime in the year 2010. She was said to have committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 8(1)(a) and (b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act,2000.”
Count 13 reads that Mrs Taiga corruptly received the sum of $5,000 paid by Kristholm Limited- a company controlled by the owners and promoters of Process & Industrial Development Limited (P&ID)- into the HSBC account of her daughter on account of the favour the ex-director showed P&ID in relation to the Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) executed between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources of the Federal Government of Nigeria and P&ID. According to the charge sheet, she committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 8(1)(a) and (b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.”
The ex-director pleaded not guilty to both amended charges.
Aminu Lawal, PW4, an operative of the EFCC, led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Mohammed Abbah testified against Mrs Taiga.
He 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 Mr. President that investigation surrounding the circumstances of the Gas Processing Supply Agreement, GSPA, should 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 further told the court that the team discovered a lot of discrepancies including an unsigned agreement between the Ministry of Defence and Khristolm Limited.
“We discovered one unsigned agreement between the Ministry of Defense 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 were given contract in which the defendant witnessed the agreement between the Ministry of Defence and Marsh Pearl Limited sometime in 2005.”
The prosecution witness further stated that the team discovered that, on December 30, 2019 the defendant, Grace Taiga, received $4969.50 through her daughter, Vera Ename Moses Taiga.
“The money was paid by Marsh Pearl Ltd, through her daughter’s account eleven days before the signing of the GSPA.
“We discovered that on January 30, 2012, the sum of $5000 (Five Thousand United States Dollars) 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 has been adjourned till March 8 and 16, 2022, for cross-examination of the witness.