Court Orders Closure of Two Firms Linked to $9.6bn P&ID Scam

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered the closure of two companies linked to the alleged $9.6 billion Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Ltd scandal.

The two companies are Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited and Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Ltd linked to the fleeing Briton, Mr James Nolan.

Justice Donatus Okorowo, in two separate judgments, held that the two companies were found guilty of the money laundering offences and were accordingly convicted under the same Act.

Justice Okorowo, therefore, ordered that the two companies be wound up and their entire assets be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The judge had, on May 6, adjourned the two separate charges filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the two companies and the British national for judgment.

Justice Okorowo fixed the date after the counsel for the EFCC, Bala Sanga, and the defence lawyer, Michael Ajara, adopted their final written addresses and made their submissions in the matters.

Although the charges were amended in the course of the trial after Nolan, a director in the P&ID Ltd, and the two companies jumped bail and fled Nigeria, the EFCC applied that Nolan should be tried in absentia.

Nolan was declared wanted and an order was made for his arrest anywhere he is sighted.

It was earlier reported that the EFCC was prosecuting Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited and Nolan in the charged marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/272/2022 as first and second defendants in the case.

Also, the commission was also prosecuting a sister case marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/273/2022 filed against Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Ltd and Corrado Fantoli as first and second 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 an 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 (GTB) account number: 0123849451.

Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Ltd 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 Obiora Egwuatu, Justice Peter Lifu of FHC 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 2023, 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.