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’.
Also a statement by Umar Gwandu, the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations to Malami said the Court has allowed Nigerian Government to challenge the contract award, well outside the normal time limits, due to the exceptional circumstances where Nigeria has uncovered evidence of a massive fraud in procuring the award.
The Court heard evidence from the Nigerian Government and the offshore shell company- Process and Industrial Developments Limited (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.
According to the statement, the 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.