A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, admitted Grace Taiga, former Director of Legal Services, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, to N30 million bail in the multiple fraud case involving Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID). Justice Obiora Egwuatu, in a ruling, also ordered Taiga, an alleged accomplice in the scandal, to produce two sureties in the like sum, who must be residents in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had, on Oct. 7, re-arraigned Taiga before Egwuatu on seven counts bordering on money laundering offences. The judge also ruled that one of the sureties must have property within the FCT and deposit the titled documents with the deputy chief registrar of the court.
Egwuatu, who held that the two sureties must have evidence of tax clearance, ordered that the defendant (Taiga) must deposit her international passport with the deputy chief registrar of the court and must get court permission before travelling outside Nigeria. The judge then adjourned the matter until Jan. 17 for commencement of trial. NAN reports that though the defendant was on Oct. 7, re-arraigned before Justice Egwuatu on nine-count charge bordering on accepting bribes and other related crimes, she pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The prosecution counsel, Abba Mohammed, had prayed that the defendant be remanded in prison custody, but the defence counsel, Ola Olanipekun, SAN, informed that a bail application on behalf of his client dated March 18 had already been filed.Olanipekun had asked the judge to admit her to bail on the grounds of ill-health.
However, the Prosecution Counsel, said the EFCC filed a counter-affidavit rejecting the bail application and a further counter-affidavit, which he said they relied on.NAN reports that on Sept. 20, 2019, the EFCC, arraigned Taiga in an FCT High Court in Apo, for complicity in the controversial contract Nigeria signed with an Irish firm, Process and Industrial Development Company (P&ID) in 2008.
Taiga, was the third person to be charged by the anti-graft agency.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government arraigned two representatives of the P&ID before a Federal High Court in Abuja on allegations of fraud.
Justice I. E. Ekwo of Federal High Court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja sentenced the company, incorporated in British Virgin Island to wind up in Nigeria and its properties, 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 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. (NAN)