Nigeria secures landmark victory in P&ID multi-billion-dollar contract suit

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The Federal Government has secured a landmark victory in its pursuit to overturn a 10-billion-dollar judgment awarded against it in a case against Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).

In the judgment delivered on Thursday, 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.

“It has been necessary to consider a considerable amount of the material to decide firstly, whether, as Nigeria contended, there is a prima facie case of fraud and how strong that case is, and secondly, the steps Nigeria took to investigate the alleged fraud from late 2015.

“Both matters are relevant to the issues of whether Nigeria’s claim is barred altogether and whether time should be extended in its favour and relief from sanctions granted.” Cranston said.

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in a statement in Abuja on Friday said the Court heard evidence from the government and the offshore shell company P&ID in relation to the gas supply and processing agreement (GSPA).

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He said the government relied on a number of ongoing investigations across multiple jurisdictions, including the US to build its case noting that the government would proceed to a full trial of the issues, where the government’s substantive application to finally set aside the award would be heard.

Malami added that the government of Nigeria was pleased with the outcome from the High Court hearing.

“This is a major victory in our ongoing fight against the vulture-fund-backed P&ID, to overturn the injustice of the multi-billion-dollar arbitral award.

“In light of the new and substantive evidence presented regarding P&ID’s fraudulent and corrupt activities, the Court has granted our application for an extension of time to hear our challenge out of normal time limits.

“The Federal Government will now proceed to a full hearing of our fraud challenge in the coming months,” he said.

The federal government had approached the court to establish that the contract was awarded on illegal terms.

Nigeria’s lawyers told the court in July that P&ID officials paid bribes to get the contract.

P&ID reportedly entered a gas supply and processing agreement with Nigeria in 2010.

Claiming Nigeria breached the terms of the contract; it took a legal recourse and secured an arbitral award against the country.

Nigeria has been making moves to overturn the judgement and has gotten court clearance to request documents from a P&ID stakeholder and review bank statements of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Diezani Alison-Madueke and Rilwanu Lukman, former ministers of petroleum.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on August 18, arraigned James Nolan, a Briton, and six companies over their alleged involvement in the contract.