A former director of legal services at in the ministry of petroleum resources, Mrs. Grace Taiga was on Friday in Suleja prison for her alleged role in the controversial contract between Nigeria and the Irish firm, Process and Industrial Development Company (P&ID).
Justice Olukayode of FCT High Court, Apo, gave the order after Taiga had entered a no-guilty plea to the eight-count charge preferred against her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC commenced investigation into the contract award following a British court’s ruling that fined Nigeria $9.6 billion for violating the terms of the contract.
Taiga was accused of participating in the award of the contract with the late petroleum minister, Mr. Rilwan Lukman.
The EFCC which described the processes of awarding the contract as “unlawful and an abuse of constitutional provision,” accused her of violating the law and awarding the contract without the approval of the federal executive council or recourse to the provisions of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission Act.
Besides, she was alleged to have collecting over $20,000 from the Irish firm “for her cooperation” in ensuring that the contract was signed.
Shortly the erstwhile director pleaded not guilty to the charge, her lawyer, Mr. Ola Olanipekun prayed the court to allow her to remain in custody of the EFCC, saying she was suffering from hypertension and diabetes.
However, counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Bala Sanga, opposed the request, arguing that the proper place to remand a defendant after arraignment was the prison.
Justice Adeniyi agreed with the prosecution and ordered that the defendant should be remanded in Suleja prison.
The court, however, stressed that she should be accorded proper medical attention while in custody, pending the determination of her bail application.
The case was adjourned till September 25.
With her arraignment, Taiga has become the third person to stand trial for involvement in the P&ID contract scam.
The EFCC had yesterday arraigned two persons it said were representatives of the P&ID before a Federal High Court in Abuja on allegations of fraud.
The two suspects, Muhammad Kuchazi, said to be a commercial director of P&ID, and Adamu Usman, a director of the company in Nigeria, pleaded guilty to the 11 counts of fraudulent involvement in the contract.
The court in its ruling convicted the suspects and ordered the firm to forfeit all its assets to the federal government.