A United Kingdom court has granted Nigeria the right to appeal the award and enforcement of the judgment that asked Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) to seize $9.6 billion in Nigerian assets.
While the challenge is pending, Nigeria was asked to pay $200 million to the court within 60 days for a stay on asset seizure. It must also pay some court costs to P&ID within 14 days.
The stay on asset seizure which is also known as a set aside would require Nigeria to prove that the $9.6 billion award is false.
Meanwhile, lawyers representing Nigeria stated that the judgement was flawed primarily due to its acceptance that England was the proper seat of the arbitration.
Harry Mantovu QC, a consummate cross-examiner representing Nigeria argued that courts, not the arbitration tribunal, should determine this, and that the August ruling ignored Nigeria’s successful application to have the award set aside by the Federal High Court in Lagos.
The Judge, however, warned Nigeria to pay the money into the court’s action within 60 days. This is the time Mantovu argued it would take Nigeria in raising the funds from either from capital markets or internal sources.
A Nairametrics report revealed that a former Director, Legal Services of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Grace Taiga was arraigned for allegedly being linked to the $9.6 billion judgment awarded against Nigeria by a British court.
Taiga was arraigned before the Apo Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on eight counts, serving as a witness when the then minister presiding over the ministry, the late Dr. Rilwan Lukman, signed as Nigeria’s representative.
The Backstory: As earlier reported by Nairametrics in recent articles, P&ID was awarded $6.6 billion in an arbitration decision over a failed project to build a gas processing plant in the Southern Nigerian city of Calabar. With the accumulated interest payments, the sum now tops $9 billion, which amounts to 20% of Nigeria’s foreign reserves.
The firm had initiated moves to identify the Nigerian assets that could be seized and it might include the country’s oil cargoes.