$9.6bn P&ID scam: INTERPOL arrests fleeing Briton in Italy

The International Criminal Police Organisation said it has arrested a Director of Process and Industrial Development Ltd, Mr James Nolan, in Italy.

Nolan, who is an Irish national, reportedly jumped bail in 2022 in the ongoing $9.6 billion P&ID scandal in Nigeria.

He was, however, arrested by the INTERPOL while on a visit to his wife, an Italian, on January 27, the News Agency of Nigeria.

An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission source confirmed this to NAN.

The EFCC official claimed, “Yes, we got the information through informant sources.”

According to the source, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs planned to request Nolan’s extradition from INTERPOL to face trial in Nigeria.

Counsel for Nolan, Paul Erokoro, in a telephone chat, said he had also heard about Nolan’s arrest, noting that only the EFCC can confirm

“There is a report that James Nolan was arrested but the EFCC is actually in a better position to confirm. They might have heard from INTERPOL.

“But I have not spoken to him (Nolan) and I don’t have firsthand confirmation but I have heard about the report,” Erokoro said.

According to NAN report, Nolan was at the centre of the controversial Gas Supply Processing Agreement which was signed in 2010.

Following his arraignment and plea of not guilty to the charges, a Federal High Court in Abuja, on November 7, 2019, initially granted him bail in the sum of N500 million.

However, due to his inability to meet the bail conditions, the bail amount was later reduced to N100 million.

Meanwhile, after perfecting his bail conditions, he failed to appear in court for trial since 2022.

Another court, where Nolan was also facing legal proceedings, revoked his bail on September 28, 2022.

The judge at the time, Justice Ahmed Mohammed (who has since been promoted to the Court of Appeal), issued a bench warrant for his arrest due to bail violation.

Mohammed ordered security agencies, including INTERPOL, to arrest him anywhere he was sighted within or outside Nigeria and be produced in court to stand trial.

The order was made after the anti-graft agency’s lawyer, Mr Bala Sanga, made an application to the effect.

The judge also granted the EFCC’s request to continue his trial in absentia.

“As far as this court is concerned, the absence of the second defendant (Nolan) in court implies he has jumped bail,” he had said.

On July 6, 2023, Justice Obiora Egwuatu, also ordered Nolan’s guarantor, Mr. George Kadiri, to surrender his N100 million bail money to the Federal Government due to his failure to bring the defendant to court.

Egwuatu, in a decision after Sanga presented the motion, also directed Mr. Kadiri, who wasn’t in court, to be held in prison until he pays the N100 million.

NAN reports that Nolan is standing trial in about eight other cases for his alleged involvement in the controversial gas supply agreement with the Federal Government.

But the contract became the subject of litigation following the award of a whopping sum of %9.6 billion in judgment debt against Nigeria.

While eight of the matters are before the FHC in Abuja, a case is before the FCT High Court, besides the London case.

Meanwhile, the matter was fixed for today (Thursday) before Justice Donatus Okorowo of a FHC could not proceed.

While Sanga and Michael Ajara were in court, Justice Okorowo was said to have gone on official engagement.

Nolan had, on November 20, 2023, opened his defence in absentia without calling any witnesses.

Nolan’s counsel, Ajara, who had told Justice Okorowo that he did not intend to call any witness, said that after he evaluates the evidence of the prosecution in the matter, he would be relying on the case of the prosecution.

The judge then fixed February 15 for the adoption of the final written addresses of the parties.

Nolan, the second defendant, alongside Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited, the first defendant, is being prosecuted in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/272/2022 for allegations bordering on money laundering offences.

A Business and Property Court in London presided over by Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales, in October 2023, annulled the $11 billion awarded against Nigeria in a case filed by the P&ID Ltd.

Knowles held that the award was obtained by fraud and that what had happened in the case was contrary to public policy.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.