Nigeria’s top law officer says that Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID) has been ordered to pay the federal government £1.5m to defray the legal costs incurred in pursuing the case between both parties. Abubakar Malami, who has been handling Nigeria’s defence in the multi-billion dollar arbitration case between the British company and the West African oil producer says Ross Cranston, a judge of the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, who ruled in favour of the country at the last court sitting also ordered that Nigeria be paid the sum as part of its successful application for the extension of time to challenge the $10 billion award.
“The Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) today appeared in the English High Court for a scheduled hearing. The hearing followed the major victory secured by FRN last Friday, allowing it to bring a fraud challenge against a $10 billion arbitration award obtained by vulture-fund-backed P&ID well outside the normal time limits,” read a statement from Mr Malami’s spokesperson Umar Gwandu.
“FRN (Federal Republic of Nigeria) will now proceed to a full fraud trial. The hearing today (Friday) was held to decide procedural and costs issues relating to the FRN’s applications to challenge the arbitration award, and to determine the short term directions to trial.
“Cranston J ordered P&ID to make an interim payment of more than £1.5 million within 21 days to cover legal costs the FRN incurred as part of their successful application for the extension of time to challenge the arbitration award and procedural hearing earlier in the year.
“A case management conference to determine the full trial window is scheduled to take place after November 2020.
“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, who continue 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.”
Mr Gwandu added that Nigeria remains committed to overturning “the injustice” of the $10 billion award, and will not rest until it secures justice for the people of Nigeria, no matter how long it takes.
A tribunal had, in 2017, ruled that Nigeria should pay P&ID $6.6 billion as damages over a breach of agreement by the government, in addition to a pre and post-judgment interest at 7 percent, estimated at $10 billion.
However, Nigeria secured an interim judgement in its favour on Friday in its quest to overturn the $10 billion judgement awarded against it in the case.