The Nigeria Government says it is pleased with the ruling of a court in the United Kingdom on the case involving the Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).
The government’s reaction was contained in a statement on Friday by Dr Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
This comes after Ross Cranston, a judge of the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, granted Nigeria’s application for an extension of time and relief from sanctions, in the nation’s bid to overturn a $10 billion judgement awarded against it.
“This is a major victory in our ongoing fight against the vulture-fund-backed P&ID, to overturn the injustice of the multi-billion-dollar arbitral award,” the statement said.
It added, “In light of the new and substantive evidence presented regarding P&ID’s fraudulent and corrupt activities, the court has granted our application for an extension of time to hear our challenge out of normal time limits.”
The court, according to the statement, has allowed the government to bring its challenge well outside the normal time limits, due to the exceptional circumstances where Nigeria has uncovered evidence of massive fraud in procuring the award.
It noted that the court heard evidence from Nigeria and the offshore shell company P&ID in relation to the Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA), which the parties entered into 10 years ago but was said to have been never performed.
The statement noted that the Muhammadu Buhari administration inherited the dispute from the previous administration and 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”.
It said Nigeria relied on several ongoing investigations across multiple jurisdictions, including the United States, to build its case while new evidence was presented during Friday’s hearing to further support the nation’s challenge.
Following the ruling of the court, the government said it would proceed to a full trial of the issues, where Nigeria’s substantive application to finally set aside the award would be heard.
It insisted that it was confident of recording a major success in the case, considering that Nigeria’s exceptional circumstances application, to have its challenge taken well outside the normal time limits was upheld on account of uncovered evidence of massive fraud in procuring the award.
“The Federal Government will now proceed to a full hearing of our fraud challenge in the coming months.
“Investigations into the GSPA are ongoing, and we are firmly committed to overturning the award – no matter how long it takes – to ensure that this money goes towards Nigeria’s future, not into the pockets of millionaires trying to exploit our country,” the statement added.