By Adedapo Adesanya
A judgement delivered on Thursday, September 10 in the United Kingdom has ordered Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID) Limited to make the payment of more than £1.5 million to Nigeria within 21 days to cover legal costs in an ensuing legal battle between both parties.
A UK judge gave the order following a hearing held to decide procedural and costs issues relating to Nigeria’s applications to challenge the arbitration award of $9.6 billion last year and to also determine the short-term directions to trial.
This latest order follows the major victory it secured on September 4 when the court allowed the country to bring a fraud challenge against the $9.6 billion arbitration award obtained by P&ID well outside the normal time limits.
Speaking on this latest development, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) through a spokesperson noted, “This is another crucial win for Nigeria in our ongoing fight against the vulture-fund-backed P&ID.
“We are pleased that the English Courts have taken our fraud challenge seriously, and awarded us a substantial interim payment in respect of our successful application for an extension of time to challenge the award.”
What this means is that Nigeria will now proceed to a full fraud trial, which among other things might mean the country will avoid paying the arbitration award which is estimated to be one-third of the national budget.
The Nigerian government noted, “To date, P&ID and its financial backer VR Capital have not produced a single document or credible witness to challenge the FRN’s fraud evidence.
“Instead, they continue to resort to disseminating misleading claims, while taking every step possible to delay or obstruct our investigations across multiple jurisdictions.”
The Nigerian government has maintained over time that the contract that led to the arbitration was fraudulent and that it would work relentlessly to overturn it.
Business Post had reported that P&ID, a firm based in the British Virgin Islands, won a $9.6 billion arbitration award against the Nigerian government after the collapse of a 2010 gas project.
However, last Friday, Mr 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 over the judgment awarded against it in August 2019.
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