Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Apo Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja, on Friday, ordered the prison remand of a former Director, Legal Services of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Grace Taiga, charged with offences connected with the controversial P&ID $9.6bn judgment.
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi ordered that the defendant be remanded in the Suleja Prison in Niger State.
This came after the defendant pleaded not guilty to the eight counts preferred against her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The judge subsequently fixed September 25 for the hearing of her bail application.
The prosecution accused her of among other charges, receiving bribe through her offshore bank account for signing, alongside the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, the late Rilwan Lukman, the Gas Supply Processing Agreement between the Process and Industrial Developments Limited and the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Ministry on January 11, 2019.
She was also accused of violating various laws by entering into the GSPA without prior approval by the Federal Executive Council and a certificate of no objection to the contract from the Bureau of Public Enterprise.
The charges are in connection with the controversial Gas Supply Processing Agreement which led to the recent $9.6bn judgment given against Nigeria and in favour of Process and Industrial Developments by a British court.
Taiga was said to have signed as Nigeria’s witness to the GSPA while the then minister presiding over the ministry, the late Dr. Rilwan Lukman, signed as Nigeria’s representative.
After she pleaded not guilty to the charges, her lawyer, Ola Olanipekun (SAN), who said his client was suffering from hypertension and diabetes, pleaded with the court to allow her to be remanded in the custody of the EFCC.
But the EFCC’s lawyer, Bala Sanga, opposed the request, insisting that her proper place of custody after arraignment was the prison.
The judge agreed with the prosecuting counsel and ordered her remand in prison.
He, however, added that she should be accorded proper medical treatment in custody pending the hearing and determination of her bail application