Nigeria has won its case against the Process & Industrial Developments Limited and will no longer pay the $9 billion judgment debt.
In August 2019, a British judge had ordered the Nigerian government to pay $9 billion in assets to the firm.
The P&ID had reached a deal with the Nigerian government in 2010 to build a natural gas plant – but the deal fell through two years later.
The firm had then sued the government for failing to provide the gas or install the pipelines it had promised to build.
The firm was first awarded $6.6bn (£5.4bn) in 2017, but the London court added $2.4bn in interest.
In a judgment on Friday, Judge Ross Cranston of the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Commercial Court, London, United Kingdom, granted Nigeria’s applications for an extension of time and relief from the sanctions.
He held that P&ID “has contributed to the delay, and it will not by reason of the delay suffer irremediable prejudice in addition to the mere loss of time if the application is permitted to proceed.”
“Although not a primary factor, fairness in the broadest sense favours an extension in this case,” the judge added.
Meanwhile, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in a statement in Abuja on Friday, said the court had granted Nigeria’s application for an extension of time and relief from sanctions due to the exceptional circumstances where the government had uncovered evidence of massive fraud in procuring the award.
Malami said the Court heard evidence from the government and the offshore shell company P&ID in relation to the gas supply and processing agreement (GSPA).
This agreement was entered into by the parties 10 years ago and which was never performed.
He said the Buhari-led administration, having inherited the dispute from the previous administration, only recently uncovered evidence that the GSPA was a sham commercial deal.
This was designed to fail from the start, and that its subsequent arbitral award was based on fraud and corruption.
He said the government relied on a number of ongoing investigations across multiple jurisdictions, including the UK, to build its case.
He said that the government would proceed to a full trial of the issues, where government’s substantive application to finally set aside the award would be
He added that the government of Nigeria was pleased with the outcome from the
High Court hearing.
“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.
“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 Federal Government will now proceed to a full hearing of our fraud challenge in the coming months,” he said.
(Additional information from NAN)