$9.6b judgment: P&ID owner’s son reaches out to FG

September 8, 2019

THERE appears to be a silver lining over the controversial $9.6billion judgment debt with a  son of the owner of Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID)  reaching out  to the Federal Government for an amicable resolution of the issue in dispute.

Adams Quinn, popularly called Adamu by his numerous friends from the North, is in contact with   government, sources said on Saturday.

He has proposed a meeting with   government in Madrid, Spain.

There were indications, on Saturday, that government was weighing all options, including a strong legal opinion that the case against P&ID was winnable.

A report has shown that the Irish founder of P&ID was a mechanic before moving into show business.

Bloomberg Businessweek revealed that he started as a military contractor.

He was said to have benefited from the cement armada in Lagos ports in the 70s before becoming an oil trader.

Although he registered P&ID in British Virgin Islands, the firm had no track record.

Investigation by our correspondent revealed that Adams was disturbed by the way the image of his late father, Michael Quinn, was being dragged in the mud after over 40 years of business in Nigeria.

It was learnt that a member of the Quinns family   has been central to the latest move to resolve the judgment debt.

A presidency source said: “There is a fresh offer from the son of the founder of P&ID  for fresh talks and negotiation with the Federal Government.  Adams Quinn is just interested in amicable resolution of the issue in dispute.

“He does not like the controversy over the $9.6billion judgment, especially the aspersions being cast on his family.

“From what he told the intermediaries, Adams position is that given over 40 years of business relationship between his father and Nigeria, the two parties can hold talks and resolve the matter.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “To build confidence in the two parties, Adams opted to meet with the government team in Spain.

“We are suspecting that Adams wants to handle the matter in a mature manner without the prying eyes of those fueling the controversy.”

Asked about the next step, the source added: “The government is weighing options because this is not the first time we had opened talks with P&ID and the firm has always reneged.”

Bloomberg Businessweek described the founder of P&ID  as a mechanic and   showbiz promoter.

The report indicated that he had infiltrated the Nigerian ruling class up to the extent of serving as a military contractor.

The report said: “Quinn grew up in Drimnagh, a tough neighborhood in Dublin. After leaving school as a teenager in the 1950s, he trained as a mechanic. An ordinary blue-collar life might have beckoned had one of his neighbors not started a show band, the Royal Olympics. These groups were unique to ’60s and ’70s Ireland: shiny-suited young men playing rock ’n’ roll or jazz, perpetually touring church halls and farm sheds to earn shoeboxes full of cash.

The Olympics needed a manager, and soon Quinn had a new career as one of the natty, ruthless handlers a BBC documentary labeled “men in mohair suits.” He ran some top acts: Daddy Cool & the Lollipops, Twink, Dickie Rock. An old friend recalls that he’d approach a singer and say, “How much are you earning? One hundred pounds a gig? I can get you 1,000.”

Quinn stuck with the industry for a while after the show bands’ popularity declined—newspaper reports suggest he arranged an Irish tour by Diana Ross and the Supremes—but there was more money to be made elsewhere.

“At some point in the ’70s he started working in Nigeria, either as an oil trader or a financier of cement deals, depending on which of the scattered accounts of his life you believe.

“He began profiting from a construction boom taking place in Lagos, which was then expanding with such chaotic abandon that hundreds of cement-bearing cargo ships were lined up at port waiting to dock.”

Read Also: $9b Judgment: P&ID chief names Yar’Adua, Lukman, NNPC GMD, 15 others behind contract

The report gave insights into how the GSPA was conceived and how P&ID became involved.

It added: “In 2008 the Nigerian government said it would end flaring by using oilfield gas to generate electricity. The minister of petroleum resources acknowledged that the challenge would be “enormous.” Converting gas requires it to be captured, transported, refined, and piped back to power plants and onto the grid.

“Officials struggled to persuade big multinationals to invest in the required infrastructure, so concessions were granted to 13 smaller companies, some virtually unknown. One was Process and Industrial Developments Ltd., or P&ID, which was registered in the British Virgin Islands but had no website or track record. Its chairman was Michael “Mick” Quinn, a 68-year-old Irishman with a rakish mustache and decades of experience in Nigeria, mostly as a military contractor.

“Quinn knew powerful people, including the petroleum minister, who guaranteed P&ID a 20-year supply of “wet,” or unrefined, gas for a plant the company would build. The raw material would be supplied for free, to be treated and returned at no cost. P&ID would instead profit from the byproducts, butane and propane. Everyone stood to benefit, not least the villagers whose homes would be lit by electricity rather than the wan glow of flaming methane.

“Then the plan fell apart. The government failed to secure any waste gas from oil companies, let alone link up the necessary pipeline, and the plant was never built. In 2012, P&ID notified the oil ministry that it was suing for breach of contract in a London arbitration forum. After a set of closed legal proceedings, judges awarded P&ID $6.6 billion, one of the biggest amounts a company has won from a sovereign state.

“When Nigeria dragged its feet on payment, P&ID teamed up with a hedge fund and moved the case to public courts, where it could ask judges to seize state assets, including bank accounts and cargo ships.

“In the summer of 2018, a man who’d worked for Quinn contacted Joseph Pizzurro, a veteran New York lawyer hired by Nigeria to lead its defense in the U.S. The caller wanted to talk about the P&ID case. “I don’t think it’s genuine,” the man said, according to an account he gave  Bloomberg Businessweek on condition of anonymity because he feared for his safety. He told Pizzurro that Quinn had conspired with officials to profit from government projects that were doomed from the start and that P&ID was one of at least three such lawsuits involving Quinn. The caller couldn’t provide enough evidence to substantiate his claims, though, and he didn’t contact Pizzurro again.

“The company and its founders remain elusive. A Nigerian newspaper recently published a list of unanswered questions about the firm: Where are its offices? How many people does it employ? How did such a tiny company win such a large concession? Quinn isn’t around to answer them; he died of cancer in 2015.

“But a close examination of his career, drawn from public records, leaked documents, and interviews with friends and former associates, shows that P&ID wasn’t the only Quinn project to end in disappointment, lawsuits, and corruption allegations. It was just the largest—the one that was supposed to provide his biggest payday.”

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