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Friday, 6 September 2019

P&ID: AGF demands contract details from CBN, 13 ministers

P&ID: AGF demands contract details from CBN, 13 ministers

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), has written to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefuele, and 13 ministers, demanding the details of all government contracts worth $5m and above under their watch.

Malami, in copies of separate letters sent to the 14 institutions and seen by The PUNCH on Thursday, stated that he was, by Section 150 of the Nigerian Constitution, empowered to demand the details in order to avert a similar situation that led to the $9bn judgment of a United Kingdom’s court against Nigeria.

The UK court had in August delivered the judgment affirming the arbitral award in favour of an Irish firm, Process and Industrial Developments Limited, over an alleged breach of a 20-year gas supply processing agreement by Nigeria.

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The UK judgment empowered P&ID to seize Nigeria’s assets worth as much as $9.6bn.

“In accordance with my mandate under Section 150 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, I am minded to assess Nigeria’s potential litigation risk with a view to taking appropriate steps to prevent avoidable liability against the Federal Government of Nigeria,” Malami stated in his letter dated August 29, 2019.

Apart from the CBN governor, other addresses of the letter with reference number HAGF/HPC/2019/Vol.1/2, included the Ministers of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono; Aviation, Hadi Sirika; Communication, Ali Pantami; Education, Adamu Adamu; Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, Finance, Zainab Ahmed; and Mines and Steel, Olamilekan Adegbite.

The rest are,Ministers of Petroleum, (State), Timipre Sylva; Power, Sale Mamman; Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo; Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; and Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.

Malami’s letter to them was titled, ‘Requesting information on all high-profile contracts involving the Federal Government of Nigeria’.

It demanded the 14 addresses to submit to him the report of all contracts worth $5m and above detailing all challenges facing the implementation and steps being taken to address the problems.

It read in part, “As you may be aware, the dispute that led to the arbitration between P&ID and FGN, which culminated in the above-mentioned judgment, arose from an alleged breach of a 20-year gas supply processing agreement executed in 2010 between P&ID and the Federal Government (through the Ministry of Petroleum).

“The judgment amounts to a sudden significant increase in our national liabilities, which, if enforced, poses potentially serious implications for our nation’s overall economy.

“The Federal Government shall, therefore, vigorously defend her interest against the enforcement of the said judgment and take appropriate steps to institute Contract Implementation Compliance Policy in order to prevent such occurrence in the future.”

The AGF urged the addressees to treat his request “with dispatch as a matter of urgent national importance.”

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