Nigeria has emerged victorious in its legal case against Process & Industrial Developments, P&ID, Limited in a UK court, finally ending the P&ID gas contract saga.
After over five years of legal battles, Justice Robin Knowles upheld Nigeria’s prayer, halting the enforcement of the $11 billion arbitration award that was previously in favour of P&ID.
In a ruling delivered via e-mail, the Justice of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales, Robin Knowles, upheld Nigeria’s prayer.
Knowles delivered judgment in favour of Nigeria because the ill-fated gas processing contract was obtained fraudulently.
A private arbitration tribunal on January 31, 2017, ordered Nigeria to pay a staggering amount of $6.6 billion to P&ID plus interest dating back to March 20, 2013.
With the interest rate fixed at seven per cent amounting to $1 million daily, the potential payment had accumulated over $11 billion before the verdict.
An eight-week trial took place in the High Court in London between January and March 2023, during which Nigeria’s substantive application to set aside the award finally was heard.
During the trial, Nigeria told the court that P&ID was guilty of bribery and corruption on an ‘industrial scale,’ and that key associates of P&ID suppressed evidence of corruption in the initial arbitral proceedings.
It also said that lawyers associated with P&ID disregarded their professional integrity, including sharing the country’s privileged documents, in pursuit of a promised ‘pot of gold’.
Trouble started when P&ID was awarded a 20-year contract in 2010, to construct and operate a gas processing plant in southern Nigeria, as part of a wider plan to exploit Nigeria’s abundant reserves of gas.
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After the deal collapsed, P&ID took Nigeria to arbitration in London and on January 31, 2017, was awarded $6.6 billion for lost profits – a sum which has swelled with interest to over $11 billion beginning from March 20, 2013.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued by the Nigeria President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, President Tinubu commended the UK Court for prioritizing the merits of the case above all other considerations.
He said: “This landmark judgment proves conclusively that nation-states will no longer be held hostage by economic conspiracies between private firms and solitarily corrupt officials who conspire to extort and indebt the very nations they swear to defend and protect.
“Today’s victory is not for Nigeria alone. It is a victory for our long-exploited continent and for the developing world at large, which has for too long been on the receiving end of unjust economic malpractice and overt exploitation.