P&ID judgment would have cost Nigeria $15bn – Buhari

FORMER President Muhammadu Buhari said it would have cost Nigeria $15 billion had the country lost its case against Process & Industrial Development Limited (P&ID).

The immediate past president stated this in a statement shared on his official X handle on Sunday, October 29.

“If Nigeria had lost its arbitration dispute with Process & Industrial Development in a London court on October 23, it would have cost our people close to USD15 billion.

“We won, and all decent people can sleep easier as a result,” Buhari said in the statement titled ‘A Matter of Principle.’

A London Court presided over by Robin Knowles had on Monday, October 23, awarded the case in favour of the Nigerian government after quashing P&ID’s $11 billion claim, The ICIR reported.

P&ID dragged the Nigerian government to court for violating the terms of its agreement in failing to provide gas for the power plant the company wanted to build for the country.

The case, which lasted for about five years, was, however, ruled in favour of the Nigerian government.

Commenting on the judgment, Buhari said Nigeria would have been the victim of a monstrous fraud.

“I end the case acutely conscious of how readily the outcome could have been different, and of the enormous resources ultimately required from Nigeria as the successful party to make good its challenge,” the former President quoted the judge.

Buhari also said that if the case had gone against the country, it would have further impoverished the citizens.

“Had Nigeria lost, it would have required schools not to be built, nurses not to be trained and roads not to repaired, on an epic scale, to pay a handful of contractors, lawyers and their allies – for a project that never broke ground,” Buhari said.

Stressing that the P&ID case leaves a lesson for the country’s future, the former President recalled the “P&ID Affair” was already firmly set by the time he came into office in 2015.

“A company registered in the British Virgin Islands that no one had heard of, with hardly any staff or assets, had won a contract to build a gas processing plant in Cross Rivers.

“The company was owned by Irish intermediaries who knew Nigeria well and had done business in everything from healthcare to fixing tanks. The previous government could not supply the gas. The plant was never built. Construction was not started. P&ID did not even buy the land for the facility. But the contract, incredibly, was clear,” he lamented.

Praising the role his government played, Buhari said the judge agreed that P&ID had paid bribes.

“He agreed that one of P&ID’s founders had committed perjury. And he agreed that P&ID had somehow found in its possession a steady supply of Nigeria’s privileged internal legal documents, outlining our plans, strategies and problems,” he said.

The P&ID case points to how important it is to follow the legal process in resolving a dispute, Buhari said, noting that the struggle was worth it as the attempt was to steal from Nigeria’s treasury, a third of its foreign reserves.

“We need better contracts in the public and private sectors. And we need greater transparency,” Buhari urged, adding that sterner sanctions awaited Nigerian public officials who had been proven to conspire with foreign criminals to defraud the country.

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