…even the President couldn’t have singularly approved the contract
A former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Michael Aondoakaa, has said that the January 2010 Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) between Nigeria and Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID), the repudiation of which resulted in a London court ruling that P&ID could seize $9.6billion assets of Nigeria, was not approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Aondoakaa, who was the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation between 2007 and 2010, said this on Monday while featuring on Channels Television programme, Sunrise Daily.
According to him, “As the Attorney General, I should have known about the contract but the first time I heard about it was when I read it in the newspapers. A contract of that magnitude is not something you sign in an office, not even the President has the power to unilaterally approve such a contract without recourse to the Council (FEC).”
The former attorney general said he suspected that the contract was steep in corruption and called on the Federal Government to file corruption charges against the company and its Nigerian collaborators.
He argued that if fraud could be established, it would vitiate the judgment against Nigeria.
Aondoakaa, substantiating its claim that the whole process of the contract could have been fraudulent, said, “Was there any budgetary provision for the pipelines in 2009? If there was no budgetary provision how could the contract have been realized?”
He explained that since the management of P&ID initiated the contract through a proposal, the proposal should have been considered by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), through which it would get to the FEC for deliberation and subsequent action.
Aondoakaa said the company could not claim ignorance of the law because it had a responsibility to find out what the law stipulated before signing the contract.
He added, “This happened in secrecy. I contacted the DG of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission and he was also shocked. Everything that is coming to us now is shocking. Ignorance of law is no excuse. If you are a foreign company coming to Nigeria, you ought to know the law. You ought to know if the contract was appropriated in the budget.”
The former AGF counselled the government not to enter into any negotiation with the company, saying doing that would confer legitimacy on the process.