EFCC arraigns P&ID director over money laundering

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned Mohammed Kuchazi, the Commercial Director of Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Limited, for money laundering, among other offences.
P&ID had secured a $9.6 billion award against Nigeria following the non-execution of a 20-year gas and supply processing agreement (GSPA) it had with the federal government.

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In the terms of the agreement, P&ID was to build and operate an Accelerated Gas Development project at Adiabo in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The company, however, dragged Nigeria before a U.K court and secured a ruling in its favour over the failed gas contract.
But in September 2020, Ross Cranston of the UK Business & Property Courts (commercial court) granted Nigeria’s application for a stay of execution of the award of $8.9 billion (about N3.2 trillion) in favour of P&ID.
A statement by the anti-corruption agency said Kuchazi was arraigned alongside his company, Kore Holdings Limited, before Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in an eight count charge.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the eight counts which they allegedly committed in 2014.

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The EFCC further alleged that Kuchazi and his company failed to comply with the regulations of the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) as stipulated by the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.
It also accused them of failing to comply with the requirement of submitting to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, a declaration of the activities of his company.
The Commission said the offences were contrary to Section 16(1) (f) read together with section 5(1) (a) (ii) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act”.

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After the defendants pleaded not guilty, prosecuting counsel, Bala Sanga, urged the judge to remand Kuchazi in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Centre and adjourn for trial.
But the defence counsel, Aniah Ikwen, appealed to the court to grant his client bail on health grounds.
The trial judge refused to grant the bail to the defendant but that he should be remanded in EFCC’s custody. She adjourned till February 4 for hearing of the bail application and fixed subsequent dates, April 27 and 28, for commencement of trial.

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