The House of Representatives Wednesday set up a 17-man ad hoc committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the $9.6bn judgment recently secured by Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID) limited, in a court in the United Kingdom against Nigeria.
As a part of the investigation, the committee is to invite the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Timpriye Sylva.
The ministers are expected to give situational report on the matter and explain the lapse in judgement of time and due diligence in the (mis)handling of the case with a view to finding lasting solutions to the avalanche of extant and future cases.
Also, other officials of the ministries, saddled with the responsibility to negotiate the agreement with P&ID and the prosecution of the matter before the tribunal, will be summoned to the house.
The 17-man panel, which the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila set up was mandated to recommend appropriate sanctions where necessary “without fear or favour or preference for status” in line with Order 14 of the Standing Orders of the House.
Additionally, the panel would initiate a process of reviewing all agreements and treaties signed by Nigeria through the appropriate committees to create opportunities to discover anomalies and avoid a repeat in the future.
The constitution of the committee, headed by Hon. Sada Soli (APC Katsina), followed the passage of motion of urgent national importance sponsored by a member, Hon. Julius Ihonvbere.
It was entitled, ‘Motion for the Urgent Need to Investigate the Act of Negligence in the Handling of the Process and Industrial Development Limited’s Transaction by the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Respectively.’
While moving the motion, Ihonvbere pointed out that the recent judgement debt of $9.6 billion (with daily interest accruing) by a commercial court in the United Kingdom against Nigeria, in a matter between Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Limited “leaves a very sour taste in the mouth.”
According to him, for a country with a foreign reserve of only $45 billion and a sovereign debt profile of over $80 billion, the judgment debt is not only punitive but would devastatingly affect the Nigerian economy.
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