… Why FG’ll not negotiate with P&ID —Malami
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
Justice Cranston J. of UK court has ordered Process and Industrial Development, P&ID, to make payment of £1.5 million to cover the legal cost incurred by Nigeria, as part of successful application for extension of time to challenge the arbitration award and procedural hearing earlier in the year.
The judge gave the order, yesterday, as Nigeria appeared for a scheduled hearing. The payment is to be made within 21 days.
The hearing, yesterday, followed the major victory secured by the Federal Government, last Friday, which allowed it to bring a fraud challenge against a $10 billion arbitration award obtained by P&ID well outside the normal time limits.
Yesterday’s hearing was held to decide procedural and cost issues relating to the federal government’s applications to challenge the arbitration award and determine the short term directions to trial.
With this, Nigeria will now proceed to a full trial, while a case management conference to determine the full trial windows would take place after November 2020.
Reacting to the development yesterday, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, said in a statement by his spokesman: “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.
‘’This is a significant blow for P&ID, which continues to attempt to delay the process. 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 Federal Republic of Nigeria, FRN, remains firmly committed to overturning the injustice of the $10 billion award, and will not rest until we secure justice for the people of Nigeria – no matter how long it takes.
‘’Investigations into the GSPA are ongoing, and we are confident that more of the truth will be revealed over the coming months.”
Meanwhile, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, said yesterday that the Federal Government would not negotiate with Process and Industrial Developments Limited, P&ID.
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Malami, in a statement signed by his media aide, Dr. Jubrilu Gwandu, maintained that the federal government was not considering any possibility of entering into any form of negotiation with the firm.
He said: “There will be no negotiation or talk of settlement with P&ID or any related party by or on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“The recent judgment of the English Commercial Court confirmed our view that P&ID and its cohorts are fraudsters who have exploited our country. They will not benefit from their corrupt behaviours.
“This is a classic case with overwhelming fraudulent and corrupt undertones. The Federal Government of Nigeria is not considering any possibility of negotiations with P&ID.”
“It is has not only fallen within the tall order exception referred to by the Hon Attorney General in his interview with Arise TV yesterday, but lacks any legitimate foundation.
“We will not and cannot negotiate arbitral awards where the basis and foundation rely on fraud, corruption, breach of processes and procedures.
“The government remains wholly committed to fighting this case to overturn the exorbitant award without paying a single naira of public money to these fraudsters”.
It will be recalled that a Commercial Court of England had last Friday, granted FG leave to challenge the $10bn arbitral award to P&ID.
Malami had described the decision of the English Court to allow Nigeria to challenge the judgement debt placed on it over three years ago, as “unprecedented”.
He noted that the Court allowed Nigeria to challenge the verdict, “well outside the normal time limits, due to the exceptional circumstances where the FRN has uncovered evidence of a massive fraud in procuring the award”.
P&ID had sued Nigeria for allegedly breaching the terms of a gas supply and processing agreement contract it reportedly signed in 2010.
Based on the suit, a tribunal in the United Kingdom, in 2017, ordered Nigeria to pay the firm $6.6 billion as damages, as well as pre- and post-judgment interest that amounted to about $10 billion.