The “fake news alert” on the report is misleading. The report is a genuine account of the judgment read by Sir Ross Cranston of the UK High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Commercial Court. Sir Cranston said in his judgement that Vice President Osinbajo had described the P&ID transaction as ‘a fraud on the nation.’
Abdul, using his twitter handle, @ishakaa with over 29,000 followers, tagged the report that the UK Judge’s observation in his ruling that Professor Osinbajo detected P&ID fraud against Nigeria, as a “fake news alert.”
The tweet claimed that nothing in the report supported the headline of the story: “How Osinbajo Detected P&ID Fraud Against Nigeria — UK Judge.”
“FAKE NEWS ALERT: pls can the editor of @daily_trust Paper give us the link to that UK court records, there is nothing in your report to support this headline,” the tweet read.
About the ‘fake news alert’ report
On September 6, 2020, Daily Trust Published a report with the headline, “How Osinbajo Detected P&ID Fraud Against Nigeria — UK Judge,” detailing the judgement of Sir Ross Cranston of the UK High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Commercial Court.
The report stated that the Judge ruled that “the timely observation and interventions of the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, was instrumental in how the Process and Industrious Development Limited (P&ID) case became known and identified as a fraudulent endeavour.”
The Daily Trust’s report stated that the judge noted that the Vice President’s “fraud on the nation” statement in June 2018 turned the case against P&ID in Nigeria’s favour.
The paper reported that according to the judgment read by Cranston, “Then the Attorney General and then Minister of State for Petroleum Resources had written to the Vice President on 23 May 2018 recommending further negotiations with P&ID. The Vice President had agreed, adding in manuscript on the letter that he was still of the opinion that the underlying transaction was ‘a fraud on the nation’, and that perhaps there might be ‘a need to independently review this view and investigate the entire affair more diligently.”
Did the Judge actually say so in his ruling?
This researcher obtained the approved judgement of Nigeria Versus P&ID with Case No: CL-2019-000752 delivered on September 4, 2020 by the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Commercial Court, Sir Ross Cranston.
An examination of the judgement of Sir Cranston, showed that the Judge mentioned “Professor Yemi Osinbajo” once, “Vice President Osinbajo” once, and “Vice President” 17 times in reference to the roles Nigeria’s number two citizen played in the P&ID transaction with Nigeria.
Sections 69 to 73 of the judgement detailed how Professor Osinbajo received several correspondences on the case and the options before Nigeria when he was Nigeria’s Acting Vice President.
Section 74 detailed how Professor Osinbajo escalated the case to the level of President Muhammadu Buhari. “On 12 June 2018 the Vice President’s office reported that he had agreed with the recommendation and would take up the matter with the President,” the judgment read.
Furthermore, section 89 detailed how the Attorney General and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources wrote to the Vice President on 23 May 2018 recommending further negotiations with P&ID.
“The Vice President had agreed, adding in manuscript on the letter, that he was still of the opinion that the underlying transaction was “a fraud on the nation,” and that there might be “a need to independently review this view and investigate the entire affair more diligently.”
In addition, Section 90 of the Judgement revealed that on June 12, 2018, the Vice President’s office wrote formally to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, stating his view that “the whole arrangement amounts to a fraud on the nation,” and that he had, therefore, additionally recommended to the President “the need to independently investigate all the relevant circumstances.”
The judgement showed that it was on the basis of the recommendations that the President issued a directive on June 26, 2018 that the transaction be probed:
“On 28 June 2018 the Attorney General, Mr Malami, wrote to the acting chairman of the EFCC, passing on the President’s instructions to conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the [GSPA] and the subsequent events.”
The “fake news alert” on the report published by Daily Trust that Sir Cranston ruled that Professor Osinbajo detected P&ID’s alleged fraud against Nigeria is misleading. The report is a genuine account of the judgment read by Sir Cranston. Sir Cranston mentioned unambiguously that Vice President Osinbajo described the P&ID transaction as ‘a fraud on the nation.’