The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), a preeminent civil society organization dedicated to the fight against corruption in Nigeria, has celebrated a significant victory for the nation at the London’s High Court, as it successfully overturned an astonishing $11 billion damages bill associated with a corrupt collapsed gas project.
In a statement released by HEDA, the organisation’s Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, described the victory as a triumphant moment for Nigeria and its citizens, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, saying the accomplishment signals a crucial milestone in the ongoing struggle against economic malpractice and the exploitation of African nations by international briefcase companies and citizens.
“We at HEDA Resource Centre want to fervently applaud the Nigerian government’s unwavering commitment to pursuing justice and safeguarding the interests of its people. The outcome in London legal action serves as a testament to the tireless efforts invested in protecting Nigeria’s financial stability and international reputation by the EFCC, particularly under the Chairmanship of its former Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.”
“This legal victory underscores the resilience of some committed Nigerians and institutions in the face of adversity and sets a precedent for holding accountable those who seek to take advantage of African resources, system and corrupt public officials.” Suraju added.
The roots of this legal dispute trace back to a demand that Africa’s most populous country pay an exorbitant $11 billion sum, equivalent to approximately one-third of its foreign exchange reserves, to Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID), a shelf company domiciled in the British Virgin Islands.
Nigeria promptly contested this demand, asserting that P&ID had engaged in corrupt practices by bribing senior officials to secure the contract and had further compromised the country’s legal representation to access confidential documents during the arbitration process. In response, P&ID vehemently denied these allegations and instead accused Nigeria of systemic incompetence.
In a groundbreaking judgment, Judge Robin Knowles of the London’s High Court uncovered evidence of bribery involving a Nigerian oil ministry official in connection with the gas contract signed in 2010. P&ID had failed to disclose this corrupt practice during the arbitration proceedings .
Judge Knowles expressed his stern disapproval of the actions of certain individuals driven by greed, who were willing to employ corruption without concern for the harm it would cause to others.
Suraju also maintained that the EFCC should sustain its prosecution of all those Nigerians, public officials, and private professionals, in cahoots with P&ID in the criminal conspiracy against the interest of the country for not only financial crimes but also economic sabotage. For leading the torturous and successful fight, in the face of local and international pressure, the former Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu should be awarded a national honour by President Bola Tinubu.