A former Director, Legal Services of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Grace Taiga has been remanded in Suleja prison, in Niger State for alleged bribery and others leading to the $9.6 billion damages awarded against Nigeria by a UK Court.
Taiga was arraigned at a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Apo, Abuja on Friday on an eight-count charge. The judge ordered her remand in prison until 25 September 2019 when her bail application would be heard.
Taiga pleaded not guilty to the charge in which she was, among others, accused of receiving bribe, through her offshore bank account in signing the Gas Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA) between P&ID Limited and the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Petroleum Resources Ministry on January 11, 2019, and over which an arbitration panel, which sat in London awarded about $9.6 billion damages against Nigeria.
After she pleaded to the charge, filed and being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), her lawyer, Ola Olanipekun (SAN), prayed the court to allow his client to be remanded in the custody of EFCC pending the determination of her bail application, on the grounds that she was suffering from hypertension and diabetes.
The lead prosecuting lawyer, Bala Sanga, however, objected to Olanipelun’s request and argued that the proper place to remand a defendant, whose plea had been taken, is prison custody.
In a ruling, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi upheld Sanga’s argument and ordered that the defendant be remanded in Suleja prison.
Justice Adeniyi directed that the defendant be accorded due to medical treatment while she is in custody, pending the hearing and determination of her bail application.
The judge subsequently scheduled September 25 for the hearing of her bail application, the Nation reports.
The EFCC also accused Taiga violating various laws by entering into the GSPA without prior approval by the Federal Executive Council and a certificate of no objection to the contract from the Bureau of Public Enterprise.
The charge is in relation to the controversial Gas Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA), in respect of which a British court upheld P&ID claim to the $9.6bn damages awarded against Nigeria by an arbitration tribunal
According to the EFCC, Taiga allegedly signed as Nigeria’s witness to the GSPA while the then Minister who was the head of the Ministry, Rilwan Lukman (now late), signed as Nigeria’s representative.