Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
Legal battle between the Federal Government and a British Virgin Island firm, Process and Industrial Development, over the controversial of a $9.6bn judgment against Nigeria resumes at a London court on Friday (today).
A London commercial court had in a judgment delivered on August 16, 2019, validated the award of the sum by a London arbitration panel against Nigeria and in favour of the P&ID.
The Federal Government had since then institute a series of legal actions to have the judgment overturned.
P&ID in an e-mail sent to our correspondent on Thursday stated that “the English Commercial Court has confirmed that a hearing will take place at 10am on March 24 at the Rolls Building in London.
“Legal representatives from P&ID and the Nigerian Government will be present.”
The $9.bn award was first issued against Nigeria and in favour of the P&ID in a January 31, 2017 ruling of a London arbitration tribunal, which held that the Federal Government was liable for the breach of a 20-year gas supply agreement signed in 2010 between the P&ID and Nigeria, through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
Under the agreement, the firm was to build in the Niger Delta region, a gas processing plant for the refining of natural gas, also known as “wet gas” into “lean gas” which would be used by Nigeria to generate electricity.
The two parties subsequently approached an arbitration tribunal in London which in January 2017 issued a final award of $6.56bn damages with accumulated interest worth over US$9.5bn in favour of the P&ID.
The Federal Government, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice had said in a statement on December 6, 2019 that it had filed new processes at the English courts in its bid to upturn the award of $9.6bn.
The AGF, Mr. Abubakar Malami, said this through a statement issued by his Special Assistant, Media and Public Relations, Dr Umar Gwandu.
Giving an insight into the case made out in the fresh filing, Gwandu stated that Nigeria argued that the gas supply and processing agreement “was procured on the basis of fraud and corruption, while the subsequent arbitral process was riddled with irregularities and deliberately concealed from the government.”
The minister’s spokesperson also explained that “the Federal Government has recently expanded its legal team, to include leading London law firm Mishcon de Reya.”
The P&ID had, in its statement reacting to the new filings by the Federal Government last December, described the step by Nigeria as “an act of desperation to try to undo the Court’s sound conclusion that P&ID’s $10bn award is enforceable.”