The Federal Government has secured a landmark victory in its bid to overturn a $10 billion arbitration judgement award against it in a case against Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).
In his judgement, which was deemed to be delivered on Friday, September 4, Ross Cranston, a judge of the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, granted Nigeria’s application for an extension of time and relief from sanctions. However, the court ruling did not specify the length of time for the extension in the long-running dispute.
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While delivering the judgement, the judge was of the view that Nigeria has established a strong prima case that the contract was procured by bribes paid to insiders as part of a larger scheme to defraud Nigeria. He said that there is also a strong prima face case that the P&ID’s main witness in the arbitration, Mr Quinn, gave perjured evidence to the tribunal, and that contrary to that evidence, P&ID was not in the position to perform the contract.
On January 31, 2017, an arbitration tribunal had ruled that Nigeria should pay P&ID, the sum of $6.6 billion as damages and breach of contract after a 2010 deal for a gas project in the Niger Delta part of Nigeria collapsed. The pre and post judgement accrued interest of 7% has seen the amount standing against Nigeria, rise to almost $10 billion, an amount that will be a serious dent on the country’s external reserve.
Nigeria has moved to upturn the judgement, alleging corruption in the award of the contract, which it also said was awarded on illegal terms. In September 2019, a high power delegation from Nigeria was in the UK regarding the case in an effort to present a proper case for Nigeria.
A spokesman for Nigeria’s Attorney General after the ruling said that they will now proceed to a full hearing of the fraud challenge in the coming months. He said the country is firmly committed to overturning the award no matter how long it takes to ensure the funds goes towards Nigeria’s future.
It can be recalled that Nigeria got clearance to request documents from a P&ID stakeholder and review bank statements of former President Goodluck Jonathan and the former petroleum resources ministers, Diezani Alison-Madueke and Rilwanu Lukman