Nigeria has succeeded in getting a United Kingdom court to temporarily suspend the $10bn an arbitration court awarded against it an in favour an Irish firm, Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) over the co tract breach in a Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA).
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.
Malami in the statement signed by his media aide, Dr. Umar Gwandu, said the English court delivered an unprecedented judgment, allowing the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) permission to proceed with its challenge to the $10bn arbitral award made against it over three years ago.
He said, “The court has allowed the FRN to bring this challenge well outside the normal time limits, due to the exceptional circumstances where FRN has uncovered evidence of a massive fraud in procuring the award.
“The court heard evidence from the FRN and the offshore shell company P&ID in relation to the gas supply and processing agreement (GSPA), which the parties entered into 10 years ago and which was never performed.”
Gwandu said, “The Muhammadu Buhari administration, having inherited this dispute from the previous administration, only recently uncovered evidence that the GSPA was a sham commercial deal designed to fail from the start, and that its subsequent arbitral award was based on fraud and corruption.
“The FRN relied on a number of ongoing investigations across multiple jurisdictions, including the US, to build its case. During the hearing, new evidence was presented to further support Nigeria’s challenge.”
According to him, the government will now proceed to a full trial of the issues, where the government’s substantive application to finally set aside the award will be heard, thereby recording a major success considering the fact that the Federal Government exceptional circumstances application to have its challenge taken well outside the normal time limits is upheld on account of uncovered evidence of massive fraud in procuring the award.
He said, “The Federal Republic of Nigeria is pleased with the outcome from the High Court hearing today. 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.”