Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), a former minister of justice and attorney general of the federation, has disclosed how Godwin Emefiele, the CBN’s immediate past governor, helped the nation save billions of dollars.
Aondoakaa pointed out that Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID), a foreign corporation, would have received arbitral awards worth billions of dollars instead of being rescued.
Remember that P&ID claimed that the Nigerian government’s violation of the contract’s conditions was the reason the agreement to construct a gas processing plant in Calabar, Cross River, collapsed. In addition to pre- and post-judgment interest accruing at seven percent, it obtained an arbitral verdict of $6.6 billion against Nigeria, totaling $11 billion.
However, the United Kingdom’s Royal Courts of Justice ruled on Monday of last week that the previous ruling in favour of P&ID against Nigeria was illegitimate.
Judge Robin Knowles rendered a decision in Nigeria’s appeal against the seizure of its assets anywhere in the world as payment for the aforementioned debt. Among other things, Judge Knowles found that P&ID had committed fraud, bribery, and the concealing of material information about the agreement it made with Nigeria.
Speaking on the breakfast show “The Morning Show” on ARISE NEWS Channel, Aondoakaa, who was AGF when P&ID and Nigeria agreed to build a gas processing plant in 2010, claimed that the CBN under Emefiele supported Nigeria’s legal team in the lawsuit that was brought against Nigeria in a London court.
He asked Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), the current Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, to investigate additional fraudulent cases brought against the nation.
Aondoakaa said: “This fraud has been exposed, and it gives us a window to look at other similar cases like Ajaokuta and the rest of them that they hurriedly went abroad, got arbitration, and are trying to enforce against Nigeria.
“I, particularly, give credit to the CBN under the then Governor, Godwin Emefiele, because there was strong pressure that settlement should be made. Our team was in the minority, that we must fight till the end. There was also apprehension that if we didn’t settle and the court would now give judgment against us, Nigeria would lose everything. But for them to have confidence in us, there was one man in the CBN, the Director of Legal Services; he gave us the confidence, gave us the support, and ensured that we were able to present to the UK lawyers that this was a fraud. So, I am most grateful. I completely agree with the honourable Attorney General that this is a big fraud.”
Aondoakaa’s remarks regarding Emefiele and a few others’ resistance to pressure corroborated what presidency sources at the time disclosed, namely that a number of people, including senior government officials, exerted pressure on then-President Muhammadu Buhari to authorise payment of the award in order to prevent a more severe penalty if the case continued.
Emefiele was rumoured to have opposed and vehemently recommended the President against such consent, risking his reputation to persuade the President that the P&ID was bogus and that Nigeria would lose the case in court if the country employed capable solicitors.
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