P&ID gives Nigeria condition to negotiate $9.6 billion award

Following the ruling of the UK court on Thursday, Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) on Sunday gave Nigeria condition for negotiating the $9.6 billion awarded in its favour.

The UK court had on Thursday ordered the Nigerian government to pay $200 million pending its appeal against the $9.6 billion awarded to P&ID involved in a failed gas deal.

Justice Christopher Butcher of the Commercial Court in London had granted the Nigerian government a conditional stay of execution of the fine pending an appeal.

It also gave the Nigerian government 60 days to make a $200 million security payment — and 14 days to pay P&ID the interim cost of the proceedings accessed so far by the firm at $250 million.

Justice Butcher had said P&ID had the right to seize Nigerian assets should either of those deadlines be missed.

The justice based his decision on the “real risk” that Nigeria’s “assets will not be returned in the event that the appeal is successful and would be lost to the government and to the people of Nigeria”.

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He added that there was the “risk of immediate, serious and potentially irreparable damage” should P&ID use “third-party agents” to monetise and stash away the assets seized pending the appeal.

Justice Butcher further ruled “that there may be immediate and potentially severe damage to Nigeria if there is no stay”.

If Nigeria fails to comply with the conditions of stay, the order will be lifted and P&ID will be entitled to bring an application for the immediate enforcement of the judgment. Similarly, all counsels agreed with the court that all actions and criminal trials in Nigeria over the issue shall have no relevance or bearing on the London matters! Nigeria and P&ID welcomed the ruling.

The date of the Nigeria’s appeal has not yet been set.

In an email response to enquiries on Sunday, the spokesperson of the British Virgin Islands-based firm founded by two Irish business partners said, “P&ID has previously indicated it is happy to consider negotiation if the process is approached in good faith by the Nigerian government”.

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P&ID had after Thursday’s hearing in London said, “The Nigerian government’s recent media exercise to allege fraud against P&ID turned out to be a red herring. Indeed, the Nigerian government did not present any evidence to support Attorney General Malami’s ‘findings’ from his sham investigation.

“The Nigerian government knows there was no fraud and the allegations are merely political theater designed to deflect attention from its own shortcomings.”

P&ID initiated arbitration against Nigeria in 2012 after the deal collapsed.

It spent $40 million on design and feasibility but didn’t construct the plant as the Nigerian government failed to supply the gas it was meant to process. In 2017, the arbitration tribunal awarded P&ID $6.6 billion, plus interest, based on what it could have earned over two decades.

The award is accruing $1.2 million in interest per day, backdated to 2013, and is now worth about $9.6 billion— some 20% of Nigeria’s foreign reserves.

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