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P&ID $9.6bn scandal: Relief as UK Court orders refund of Nigeria’s $200m

Firm to pay FG £70,000

AGF, CBN laud judgement

It was a big relief for Nigeria as a Commercial Court in London, yesterday, ordered the release of $200 million used as a deposit in the P&ID case to be returned to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The sum was earlier deposited as guarantee and security for the stay of execution granted Nigeria following the appeal it filed against the judgement of Justice Butcher for the execution of the Arbitral award of $10 billion in favour of Messrs. Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID).

In addition to the refund of the bank guarantee, the court, presided over by Sir Ross Cranston, rejected the request of P&ID to increase the security to $400 million and instead ordered cost of £70,000 against P&ID as further legal costs relating to the issue.

It will be recalled that the same court, earlier in September 2020, had also granted another cost of £1.5 million against P&ID. In a reaction to the judgement, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) expressed gladness over what he described as multiple successes on the case. According to the AGF, the judgement has demonstrated an outcome of strong commitment and determination of the present Federal Government through the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to tackle fraud, corruption and non-compliance with the due process.

Malami said that since he took over the coordination of the case, it has been a chain of success upon success. “We are glad having this victory in addition to multiple successes recorded so far. Nigeria has recorded tremendous success challenging the order for cash deposit of $200 million to bank guarantee. “Success was equally recorded for having an order for the extension of time to challenge award and agreement.

Nigeria was successful as the court award payment of legal cost of 1.5 million euro in favour of the country,” he said. Malami recalled that as a result of his determination to achieve successes on the matter, Nigeria was able to obtain an order for stay of execution of the arbitral award which was granted P&ID. “Nigeria recorded tremendous success challenging the order for cash deposit of $200 million to bank guarantee.

“Success was equally recorded for having an order for the extension of time to challenge award and agreement. “Nigeria was successful as the court award payment of legal cost of 1.5 million euro in favour of the country.

“Nigeria obtained multiple positive rulings to obtain information from banks abroad which helped in establishing fraud,” said Malami. Governor Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who also reacted to the judgement expressed pleasure that the court rejected the P&ID’s application to increase the guarantee, which he noted was clearly intended to be a diversionary tactic and entirely misconceived. According to him, the favourable ruling was due to the substantial evidence of prima facie fraud established before the court in London. “We are pleased that the Judge has agreed to release the guarantee.

This release, which is an accretion into the reserves, will further enhance the nation’s management of the exchange rate of its domestic currency, the naira while ensuring monetary and price stability,” Emefiele said.

The Tuesday’s order is seen as a further and significant victory for Nigeria in its determination to overturn the $9.6 billion award procured through fraud and corruption by P&ID and former government officials. Analysts are of the view that P&ID and its backers, Lismore Capital and VR Advisory, are increasingly fighting a lost battle, as they continue to resort to employing delay tactics, disseminating misleading claims, and taking every step to obstruct investigations across multiple jurisdictions.

“The Nigerian Government is determined to secure justice for the people of Nigeria – no matter how long it takes. Investigations are ongoing, and we are confident that more of the truth will be revealed over the coming months,” one of the analysts said. UK commercial court had recently granted Nigeria’s appeal for stay of execution of the award of $9.6 billion (about N3.5 trillion) to an Irish company, P&ID, over a botched gas contract. Specifically, the Royal Courts of Justice Strand, London granted the stay of execution order in the arbitrary award, following the review of written submission by the Federal Government which contained new evidence.

The presiding judge, Justice Cranston held that the court decided to “grant Nigeria’s application for an extension of time and relief from sanction” in the matter in dispute. On August 16, 2019, a UK Business & Property Courts (the Commercial Court), presided by Justice Butcher, had approved that P&ID should enforce a March 20, 2013 award against Nigeria by a District Circuit Court in Washington DC.

The court ordered a whopping $9.6 billion debt against Nigeria over the botched 20-year Gas and Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA) with P&ID. In a ruling, the court authorised the (P&ID), a little known Irish engineering and project management company, to seize $9.6 billion in Nigerian assets over the failed contract. The court ruling was a fallout of the contract purportedly entered into in 2010 between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and P&ID and the subsequent award made in July 2015 in favour of the P&ID, by an arbitration panel sitting in London.

In the failed contract, the P&ID was to build a gas processing facility to refine associated natural gas into non-associated gas to power the national electric grid. On its part, the Ministry was to build pipeline to supply gas to the P&ID facility to be located in Adiabo, Odukpani LGA, Cross River State. The agreement went sour because the company, which did not build any facility at the agreed site, blamed the Ministry for not constructing the pipeline for gas supply, alleging that it had committed $40 million into the contract.

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