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UK Court grants Nigeria relief from $10bn P&ID suit

A United Kingdom Court has granted the Nigerian Government relief from $10 billion sanctions earlier levied on Nigeria in a case with Irish owned firm, Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).

The relief followed an application by counsels to the Nigerian government demanding for an extension of time and relief from the sanctions as the legal battle continues between the firm and the Nigerian Government.

Ross Cranston, a judge at the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales on Thursday granted the application.

In the introduction to the judgement, it is written that Nigeria’s case for an extension of time is that the gas processing contract  (GSPA), the arbitration clause in the GSPA and the awards were procured as the result of a massive fraud perpetrated by P&ID, and that to deny them the opportunity to challenge the final award would involve the English court being used as an unwitting vehicle of the fraud.

After all the background noted and examined, Cranston said, “For the reasons given, I grant Nigeria’s applications for an extension of time and relief from sanctions.”

A tribunal in the UK on January 31, 2017 had earlier granted P&ID rights to claim $9 billion worth of assets from the Nigerian Government for breaching the terms of their agreement after aborting a gas project.

The engineering and project management company was awarded damages worth $6.6 billion by the English Commercial Court sitting in London while the accrued interests included pegs the total payment to the firm at $9 billion.

The P&ID had blamed the $10 billion sanction on Abubakar Malami, Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice,  for ’gambling on the arbitration’.

The ICIR reported that the P&ID Facts in a statement titled, “Nigerian Attorney General Malami’s Revisionist History”, published on its blog said the Attorney General could have settled the problem shortly after he took office in November 2015 for $850 million, but personally took the decision to gamble on the arbitration and turned an $850 million liability into a $9.6 billion debt.

However, the Nigerian Government said in a statement that there is evidence of P&ID’s “highly orchestrated scam”.

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The country’s 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.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged two British citizens, James Richard Nolan and Adam Quinn with money laundering and arraigned them in connection to the P&ID case.

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