P&ID Scam: EFCC Disowns Statement of its Witness

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday re-arraigned James Nolan on 32-count charge.

The Briton is accused among others of tax evasion, money laundering involving the controversial $9.6bn judgment against Nigeria.

Nolan, said to be a signatory to the account of the Process & Industrial Development (P&ID) Nigeria, was first arraigned on 15 count charge .

When the case resumed Thursday at a Federal High Court, Abuja, the EFCC kicked against the admission of the statement of its own witness.

The witness, Agunbiade Adeseye, a Staff of Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) had made statement in which he chronicled how about eight accounts linked with the controversial oil and gas supply contract was opened in 2006 and operated till date before the sponsors of the company were arrested in connection with the failed oil and gas deal.

Adeseye, who was led in evidence by Counsel to the EFCC, Iheanacho Ekele, had told the court how huge amount in dollars were transferred from P&ID accounts overseas into its subsidiaries’ accounts in Nigeria through GTB.

The witness also told the court how huge sums running into millions of Naira were also transferred from one of the subsidiaries to another, especially Goidel Resources Nigeria Limited and ICIL Nigeria Limited.

There was dsagreement however during cross examination by counsel to the defendants, Paul Erokoro SAN, when the witness admitted that there was nothing unusual in foreign companies transferring money to their subsidiaries in Nigeria legally.

The witness further told the court that GTB would not have accepted the transfer of the foreign currency from outside the country if it were not for legitimate purposes.

Erokoro, who crossed examined the witness based on the witness statement to EFCC applied to tender it as exhibits to assist the court in arriving at a just conclusion.

However, the request was vehemently opposed by EFCC’s counsel, who stated that the defence counsel did not lay foundation for admission of the statement.

Ekele insisted that the witness statement can only be tendered if it was for the purpose of discrediting the oral testimony of the witness.

But Erokoro SAN expressed worry on why the EFCC objected to admission of its own statement, adding that the witness was accurate in the statement he made to the anti-graft agency.

Trial judge, Justice Okon Abang however fixed December 6 for ruling on the admissibility or otherwise of the statement and for continuation of the trial.

Earlier, the EFCC had brought a 32 count amended charge and amended proof of evidence against the Briton and the two companies, who denied the entire charges.

In the 32 amended count charge, the defendants were accused of money laundering, tax evasion and failure to disclose their activities to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in line with the Money Laundering Act, among other counts.

Author: NewsAdmin

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