A former Director of Legal Services at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Grace Taiga, has been ordered remanded in prison custody by the Apo Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Friday.
She was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for offences connected with the controversial P&ID $9.6bn judgment.
The trial judge, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi ordered that the defendant be remanded in the Suleja Prison in Niger State after she pleaded not guilty to the eight counts preferred against her by the EFCC.
The judge subsequently fixed September 25 for the hearing of her bail application.
Taiga was accused of among other things, receiving bribe through her offshore bank account for signing, alongside the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, the late Rilwan Lukman, the Gas Supply Processing Agreement between the Process and Industrial Developments Limited and the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Ministry.
The EFCC also accused her of violating various laws by entering into the GSPA without prior approval by the Federal Executive Council and a certificate of no objection to the contract from the Bureau of Public Enterprise.
Taiga was said to have signed as Nigeria’s witness to the GSPA while the then minister presiding over the ministry, the late Dr. Rilwan Lukman, signed as Nigeria’s representative.
Taiga’s lawyer, Ola Olanipekun (SAN), who said his client was suffering from hypertension and diabetes, pleaded with the court to allow her to be remanded in the custody of the EFCC. But the EFCC lawyer, Bala Sanga objected to it, insisting that prison was the proper place of custody after arraignment.
While ordering the suspect to be remanded in prison custody, Justice Adeniyi ordered that she should be accorded proper medical treatment in custody pending the hearing and determination of her bail application.