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Nigeria requests UK court to overturn $10b arbitration award over botched gas deal
NIGERIA is seeking more time to appeal the judgement by a United Kingdom Court in favour of Irish owned firm, Process and Industrial Developments Ltd, P & ID, to recover $9.6 billion worth of assets from the country for breaching a contractual agreement
According to Reuters, Nigeria is hoping to persuade the court after applying to US courts in March requesting documents from 10 banks, including Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., in a move to prove its corruption allegations.
This is despite missing the 28-day appeal deadline.
Mark Howard, the lawyer representing Nigeria had during the online English court hearing on Monday, said he had evidence of payments from companies related to P&ID to Vera Taiga, a lawyer for the Petroleum Ministry at the time 11 days before the deal was signed.
“It is very unusual in a fraud case to discover a single smoking gun, by its very nature, fraud is conducted in secret,” which makes it hard to detect and justifies an extension,” Howard was quoted as said.
Nigeria’s lawyers are seeking another hearing for the judge to decide whether misconduct has taken place and whether it justifies overturning the contract.
Evidence of P&ID’s “highly orchestrated scam” had only recently come to light, Abubakar Malami, Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice affirmed in a statement.
The country’ legal team told the court they have discovered alleged bribes to government officials and their family members dating back to 2009.
“There is good reason to believe that ministers at the highest level were involved in a corrupt scheme to steal money from Nigeria,” Malami said in court filings submitted on March 24.
P&ID has said Nigeria was engaged in a “manufactured fraud investigation” that has denied its subjects due process, during the legal argument, its lawyers said the payments were legitimate and for medical expenses.
The engineering and project management company was awarded damages worth $6.6 billion in 2017 by the English Commercial Court sitting in London after a 2010 business deal failed.
The award has been accruing interest since 2013 and currently worth nearly $10 billion after another UK court upheld the arbitration award P&ID won in 2017.
The hearing is set to continue on Tuesday, and the judge’s ruling will determine if the government can continue its appeal and present its full case of alleged fraud in the English courts.