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US Judge grants FG’s request to access bank records of Goodluck Jonathan, Diezani and others

US Judge grants FG's request to access bank records of Goodluck Jonathan, Diezani and others

The Nigerian government’s request for a subpoena on 10 US banks for information needed to prosecute government officials allegedly connected to British Virgin Island engineering firm, Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) alleged bribery scheme and subsequent $9.6 billion arbitral claim has been granted by a US Judge.

The filings were done by Alexander Pencu, a partner of Meister Seelig & Fein LLP, attorneys for the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice of Nigeria.

The affected banks were listed as follows; “Citibank, N.A. (“Citibank”) , Allied Irish Banks plc (“Allied Irish”), HSBC Bank USA (“HSBC”), Standard New York, Inc. (“Standard New York”), Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas (“Deutsche Bank”), J.P. Morgan Chase (“JPMorgan”), United Bank for Africa (“UBA”), Bank of Cyprus, Fortis Private Banking Singapore Limited (“Fortis”), and Standard Chartered International (USA) Ltd. (‘Standard Chartered”).

New York federal judge, Lorna Schofield who granted the request asked the affected banks to allow the Nigerian government access the information they need to prove their case.

Former political office holders whose accounts are expected to be accessed by the Nigerian government include former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience Faka Jonathan; former oil minister who is now late, Rilwanu Lukman; Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former petroleum minister during the tenure of Mr Jonathan; and Allison Amaechina Madueke; former attorney general and minister of justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke.

Others named in the subpoena are Taofiq Tijani; Grace Taiga; Mohammad Kuchazi; one Michael Quinn, who died in 2014; James Nolan; Adam Quinn; and Ibrahim Dikko.

It is also speculated that some officials of the banks might testify in the case. Nigeria’s chances of overturning the $9.6 billion arbitration award lie on proving the 2010 gas supply arrangement was a sham designed to fail by P&ID and government officials.

This is however coming after former President Goodluck Jonathan denied having an account or property abroad.