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P&ID: London court awards £20m costs in favour of Nigeria

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A United Kingdom court presided over by Justice Robin Knowles has directed Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) Limited to pay Nigeria £20 million as damages and compensation to Nigeria following the country’s victory in an $11 billion judgment debt which was heard in October.

The said sum must be paid to Nigeria in the next 28 days.

The award of the £20 million as damages was disclosed during a consequential ruling on the matter that took place in London on Friday to find out what next after the October ruling.

“Nigeria sought at least £20 million back from P&ID to cover its damages and legal fees. Essentially, what P&ID lawyers were trying to do was limit the amount it would pay to Nigeria as damages, and they fought hard to see if it would be in naira. But the court ruled that they must pay £20 million to Nigeria, which must come in 28 days. Then came the request for appeal. Their request for an appeal on the currency at which they were going to pay Nigeria was also denied. So, in 28 days, P&ID must pay Nigeria at least 20 million pounds,” Arise News Channel reported on Saturday.

The court had, on October 23, upturned an $11 billion judgment debt which P & ID wanted enforced against Nigeria.

In his final pronouncement on the case on Friday, Knowles dismissed a proposal by the firm to pay the costs in naira.

He also dismissed in completely the judgement debt which had been awarded against Nigeria by an arbitration tribunal.

Counsel to Nigeria while invoking the common law principle of “fraud unravels all” had argued that the award be set aside in its entirety.

However, P&ID applied to the court to appeal the October judgement.

The tribunal first issued a $6.6billion arbitration award against Nigeria in January 2017 after the firm accused the Federal Government of failing to keep to an alleged 2010 contract with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to construct and operate a new gas processing facility in Calabar.

The award according to P&ID lawyers claim, had grown to $11.4 billion on account of interest.

Nigeria subsequently approached the Business and Property Court praying it to dismiss the award.

The court upheld Nigeria’s prayers and said the firm actually paid Nigerian officials to draft the contract agreement.

It also found that P&ID was illegally in possession of Nigeria’s privileged legal documents during the arbitration hearings.

Nigeria was able to provide the court with banking records from New York showing fund transfers to Nigerian government officials by entities allegedly affiliated with P&ID, as well as evidence of large, unexplained cash withdrawals from a P&ID affiliated entity’s Nigerian bank account around the time the contract was signed.

Nigeria according to the terms of the purported contract, was to supply natural gas at no cost to P&ID’s facility while the company would construct and operate the facility.

The company was to process the gas for the purpose of removing natural gas liquids and return lean gas to Nigeria at no cost.

The understanding was that the lean gas so supplied would be suitable for use in power generation and other purposes.

Nigeria insisted that the contract was based on an unsolicited proposal presented by P&ID.

It also said no tender was conducted in respect of the project and the company even had no experience or assets in the gas sector to handle a contract of that magnitude.

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