A federal judge in New York, United States of America has ruled that Nigeria can subpoena 10 banks in the United States for information the country needs to prosecute government officials allegedly connected to a British Virgin Island engineering firm’s bribery scheme and subsequent $9.6 billion arbitral claim, according to law360.com.
The Nigerian Government had last month asked the court to compel the banks to release account details of former President, Goodluck Jonathan; his wife, Patience; and former Ministers of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke and Rilwanu Lukman.
The banks involved are: 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).
Nigeria is requesting “all documents concerning any transactions to, from or for the benefit” of Jonathan and his wife between 2009 and today.
District Judge, Lorna Schofield, who gave the ruling, ordered the banks to allow the Nigerian Government have access to the account details to enable it prove that the $9.6 billion arbitration was obtained by Process and Industrial Development by fraud.
According to court documents, the Nigerian Government is seeking the bank documents to help an ongoing investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to know individuals in the Process and Industrial Development Limited gas deal, especially the roles of Lukman and Alison-Madueke.
It said the 10 banks are “likely to have processed US dollar transactions connected to P&ID’s operations as either correspondent banks or the New York branches of foreign lenders”.
It, however, said it had yet to find “direct evidence” that Jonathan, Alison-Madueke and other politicians received payments from P&ID or its affiliates.
The Nigerian Government said Lukman during his time as minister signed the contract while Alison-Madueke was responsible for the “flagrant mishandling” of government’s arbitration strategy until 2015.