A Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, on Thursday, issued a warrant for the arrest of an Irish, Neil Murray, over his involvement in the alleged Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) scandal.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed gave the order, following an ex-parte motion moved by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Bala Sanga.
Sanga told the court that the ex-parte motion, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/143/2020 dated Aug. 20 and filed Aug. 25, was brought pursuant to Sections 3, 35, 36 and 37 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, and under the inherent power of the court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the EFCC, is the applicant, Mr Murray is the respondent.
NAN also reports that Murray, an employee of P&ID, is also a director of Lurgi Consult Ltd., an associate company of P&ID.
The lawyer said the respondent (Murray), who is at large, is named in counts one to eight of the criminal charge number: FHC/ABJ/CR/143/2020 before the court in which a Director in P&ID, James Nolan, is currently standing trial.
Sanga, therefore, prayed the court for an order of warrant for the arrest of Murray for him to be brought before the court and face trial on the aforementioned criminal charge.
He gave three grounds upon which the application was brought.
“That this Honourable Court has the statutory powers under provisions of Section 3, 35, 36 and 37 of the Adminstration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 to grant the prayers being sought
“That the respondent is named in count numbers 1-8 of the criminal Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/143/2020 and indicated to be at large.
“That the proof of evidence in support of Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/143/2020 discloses prima facie evidence against the respondent among others,” he said.
The EFCC lawyer also prayed the court to issue an arrest warrant against Nolan, following his absence in court.
But the judge declined to grant the request in view of the fact that there was no proof that hearing notice for the Thursday’s proceeding was served on Nolan.
Justice Mohammed, who granted the prayer for issuance of arrest warrant on Murray, adjourned the matter until Jan. 25, 2022, for trial continuation.
NAN reports that Mr Nolan, alongside two others, was also, on Oct. 18, re-arraigned in an amended-32 count bordering on money laundering before Justice Donatus Okorowo of FHC.
Although Nolan and two companies; Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution (DNFI), and ICIL Limited were re-arraigned, his co-accused person, Adam Quinn, was at large.
NAN reports that an alleged accomplice in the scandal, a Nigerian, Mrs Grace Taiga, who was a former director of Legal Services, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, is also standing trial before Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the same court.
On Sept. 20, 2019, the EFCC had earlier arraigned Taiga in an FCT High Court in Apo, for complicity in the controversial contract Nigeria signed with the Irish firm, P&ID in 2008.
It would be recalled that Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court, Abuja, had sentenced the company, incorporated in British Virgin Island to wind up in Nigeria and its property, forfeited to the Federal Government.
Ekwo convicted two directors, Mohammed Kuchazi and Adamu Usman.
Kuchazi and Usman were arraigned on an 11-count charge, bordering on obtaining by false pretence; dealing in petroleum products without appropriate licence; money laundering and failure to register P&ID with the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) as required by law, amounting to economic sabotage against the Nigerian state.
They had pleaded guilty to the 11 counts of fraudulent involvement in the contract.
The court, in its ruling, convicted the suspects and ordered the firm to forfeit all its assets to the Nigerian government.