The federal government has requested for the account statements of some former public office holders to 10 banks.
Bloomberg reports that the public officers include former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience; former ministers of petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke and Rilwanu Lukman.
Nigeria is requesting “all documents concerning any transactions to, from, or for the benefit” of Jonathan and his wife between 2009 and the present day.
The banks listed include Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and New York branches of Deutsche Bank AG and United Bank for Africa Plc.
Court documents quote Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation, as saying information contained in the document will help an ongoing investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to know individuals in the Process & Industrial Developments Ltd gas deal.
Although Malami the attorney general didn’t mention Jonathan as a subject of the EFCC probe, the former head of state appears alongside the ex-ministers in Nigeria’s proposed subpoenas.
“There is good reason to believe that ministers at the highest level were involved in a corrupt scheme to steal money from Nigeria,” Attorney General Abubakar Malami said in court filings submitted on March 24.
He said P&ID had no ability or intention of ever performing the contract, which required the company to build a gas processing plant and the government to supply gas.
Lorna Schofield, a US district judge, gave Nigeria permission to send copies of its application to the banks, eight of which had been served by April 15. However, the court has not decided whether to give Nigeria access to the documents.
In the court filings, Nigeria said the EFCC has not found direct evidence that the public officers received payments from P&ID or its affiliates.
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”.
Nigeria hopes to overturn a $9.7 billion judgement awarded against it for a breach of agreement in a gas project.
A spokesman for P&ID said Malami’s application is “nothing but an absurdly overbroad fishing expedition” arguing that the AGF manufactured a claim of fraud and bribery to avoid paying the judgement debt that amounts to about 30% of the country’s foreign reserves.