The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, 10 January, 2023, expressed displeasure with the antics of counsel to Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited, Michael Ajara, accusing him of attempting to delay trial.
Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited, one of the over thirty companies associated with $9.6b Process and Industrial Development, P&ID, fraud, is facing a six count amended charge bordering on money laundering and failure to comply with the money laundering requirements alongside directors of the company: James Nolan(at large), Adam Quinn(at large) and Gerrard Nash(also at large) , before Justice D.U. Okorowo of the Federal High Court Abuja.
At the resumed hearing today, defence counsel, Michael Ajara approached the court to order the prosecution counsel to avail the defence with the processes of the trial and adjourned the matter to enable them to get acquainted with the case.
But prosecuting counsel, Bala Sanga prayed the court to discountenance the submission of the defense, claiming it was a ploy to delay the trial. “Most respectfully, this is a strange procedure, my lord; the proceedings are with the registry of the court. If the defence counsel wants any process of the court, the proper thing is to apply to the court and not to rely on me.
“The defendant is in Ireland; he is prepared to testify against Nigeria next week, which they are aware of. Somebody on the run, briefing them and instructing them to stall the trial ahead of his testifying against Nigeria. We humbly pray that this trial should not be stalled as a result of the failure of the counsel to do the proper thing which is applying to the court for the record,” he said.
Justice Okorowo consequently overruled the defense counsel and ordered prosecution to commence examination in chief.
The witness, Temitokpe Erinomo, a Principal Compliance Officer with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment on secondment to the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering Department, SCUML, o informed the court that on October 8, 2011, they received a letter from the EFCC. “The letter sought to know the compliance status of Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited.
“Our findings from the review revealed that Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited has not made a declaration of its business activities to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. Our findings also showed that Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited has not appointed a compliance officer among its management staff. We also found that Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited has not established an internal audit nor filed its business activities in report as at the date of receipt of the letter from the EFCC”.
The witness further informed the court that upon review, they discovered that the company is associated with the Process & Industrial Development, P&ID Ltd”, a company that is claiming a $9.6bn arbitral award from the Nigerian Government.”
“Our review showed that Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited received massive inflows of funds from Trinity Biotech Joint Ventures in Cyprus and also P&ID Ltd, based in the British Virgin Island. We also found that Mr. Adam Quinn and Brendan Cahill who are owners of the defendant are also owners of P&ID Ltd. Notably, we found that Mr. James Nolan, a fugitive from justice and commercial manager of P&ID Ltd is also the man behind the defendant,” he added.
Justice Okorowo thereafter adjourned the matter to Wednesday, January 11, 2023, for cross-examination of the witness.