By News desk
A former Director, Legal Services of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Grace Taiga has been remanded in Suleja prison, in Niger State by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Apo, Abuja.
Taiga is to remain in prison until September 25, 2019, when her bail application would be heard after being arraigned before the court on Friday on an eight-count charge of bribery, among others.
Upon her arraignment on Friday, Taiga pleaded not guilty to the charge in which she was, among others, accused of receiving bribe, through her offshore bank account in signing the Gas Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA) between P&ID Limited and the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Petroleum Resources Ministry on January 11, 2019, and over which an arbitration panel, which sat in London awarded about $9.6billion damages against Nigeria.
Taiga’s lawyer, Ola Olanipekun (SAN), prayed the court to allow his client to be remanded in the custody of EFCC pending the determination of her bail application, on the grounds that she was suffering from hypertension and diabetes.
Lead prosecuting lawyer, Bala Sanga, however, objected to Olanipelun’s request and argued that the proper place to remand a defendant, whose plea had been taken, is prison custody.
In a ruling, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi upheld Sanga’s argument and ordered that the defendant be remanded in Suleja prison.
Justice Adeniyi, however, directed that the defendant be accorded due medical treatment while she is in custody, pending the hearing and determination of her bail application.
The judge subsequently scheduled September 25 for the hearing of her bail application.
Taiga was also accused by EFCC 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.
The charge is in relation to the controversial Gas Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA), in respect of which a British court upheld P&ID claim to the $9.6bn damages awarded against Nigeria by an arbitration tribunal
The EFCC accused Taiga of signing as Nigeria’s witness to the GSPA while the then Minister who was the head of the Ministry, Rilwan Lukman (now late), signed as Nigeria’s representative.