James Nolan, a Briton who jumped bail in the alleged $9.6 billion Process and Industrial Development Limited scandal, has opened his defence in absentia without calling any witness.
Nolan’s counsel, Michael Ajara, made this known to Justice Donatus Okorowo of a Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday.
He said he did not intend to call any witness upon resumed hearing in the matter.
Ajara told the court that after his evaluation of the evidence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the prosecution in the matter, he would be relying on the case of the prosecution.
EFCC’s lawyer, Bala Sanga, did not object.
This made Justice Okorowo to adjourn the matter until February 15, 2023 for adoption of final written addresses.
The anti-graft agency is prosecuting Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited and Nolan in the charged, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/272/2022, as 1st and 2nd defendants.
The commission is also prosecuting the sister case, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/273/2022, filed against Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Limited and Corrado Fantoli as 1st and 2nd defendants respectively before Okorowo.
Fantoli, also a foreigner and an associate of Nolan, was one of the suspects behind the alleged $9.6 billion P&ID fraud.
The suspect, said to be at large, alongside the company, was arraigned in absentia on November 25, 2022 on eight-count money laundering charge.
He was not present in court or represented by a lawyer when they were arraigned.
The court also declared him wanted and ordered for his arrest anywhere he is sighted after Sanga made application to the effect.
Fantoli and Giovanna Beccarelli, who had also been declared wanted and an arrest warrant issued against her, were said to be directors and signatories to the company’s Guaranty Trust Bank account number: 0123849451.
Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Limited and Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited are two of the over 30 companies associated with the $9.6 billion scam.
Other cases linked to the scandal are currently before Justice Ahmed Mohammed, Justice Obiora Egwuatu, Justice Zainab Abubakar of FHC in Abuja, besides other charges at FCT High Courts.
A Business and Property Court in London presided over by Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales had in October quashed the $11 billion awarded against Nigeria in a case filed by the P&ID.
Judge Knowles held that the award was obtained by fraud and that what had happened in the case was contrary to public policy.