Nigeria secured this week one of its most significant legal wins ever in a tussle that has lasted for over decade. With a staggering sum of $11 billion at stake, Nigeria faced off against Process & Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID).
The victory came through the judgment of Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales, who ruled in favour of Nigeria, dismissing an $11 billion arbitration award granted to P&ID. This award had loomed ominously over Nigeria, but Justice Knowles’s judgment delivered a substantial blow to P&ID’s claim.
Here’s the timeline of events since the face-off began:
January 11, 2010: The genesis
P&ID secures a Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) aimed at developing an advanced processing plant for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
August 22, 2012: A troubled accord
Two years later, work on the gas processing plant remained dormant, and the agreement collapsed. P&ID initiated private arbitration proceedings against Nigeria, and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources maintained exclusive control over the proceedings in a highly unconventional move.
May 29, 2015: Change in leadership
Three years after the agreement collapsed, a new President, Muhammadu Buhari, assumed office with a global reputation for anti-corruption efforts.
January 31, 2017: Arbitration award
The private arbitration tribunal delivered a staggering blow, ordering Nigeria to pay P&ID nearly $6.6 billion, with interest accruing at a rate of seven percent since March 20, 2013.
June 28, 2018: Investigating P&ID
Abubakar Malami, Nigeria’s Attorney General, initiated a formal inquiry into P&ID and the GSPA on the directive of President Buhari.
September 19, 2019: Legal reckoning
Following the investigation, P&ID and its Nigerian entity were convicted on eleven charges, including money laundering and fraudulent land acquisition.
September 20, 2019: A challenging battle
P&ID faced a stern order from an English court, demanding payment of $1.5 million in costs to Nigeria, with an upcoming trial after November. Simultaneously, an Abuja court found two Irish officials linked to P&ID guilty on multiple charges, leading to the forfeiture of all P&ID assets. This followed a $9.6 billion settlement granted to P&ID by an English court.
September 26, 2019: Appealing the arbitration decision
Nigeria secured a vital stay of execution, preventing P&ID from enforcing the $9.6 billion judgment debt. This decision bolstered Nigeria’s resolve to appeal the arbitration decision.
October 22, 2019: Uncovering corruption
Two Britons connected with P&ID faced charges of money laundering, initially 16 counts, which were later increased to 32, linked to the GSPA.
November 25-28, 2019: Legal challenge
Nigeria urged the London High Court to scrutinise the GSPA and arbitration decision objectively, leading to a stay of execution. This step paved the way for the country’s pursuit of justice.
December 5, 2019: Investigating corruption
Nigeria presented substantial evidence in the London High Court, contending that the GSPA was procured through fraud and corruption, demanding the annulment of the then $9.7 billion arbitration award. P&ID remained silent in the face of mounting evidence.
December 19, 2019: Arrest and accusations
Former Justice Minister Mohammed Adoke was arrested, linked to the Malabu Oil scandal. The charges related to his involvement in the controversial memo advocating a $850 million settlement to P&ID.
January 24, 2020: Fighting for justice
The London High Court set a timeline for the appeal, as Nigeria fought against a $9.6 billion arbitration award, alleging fraudulent activities in the 2010 gas-supply contract with P&ID.
July 13, 2020: Legal struggle continues
Nigeria appealed for an extension of the $9.6 billion arbitration award in a London court, underscoring the financial enormity of the case.
September 4, 2020: A new legal victory
The English Commercial Court granted Nigeria permission to proceed with its challenge against arbitral award.
October 29, 2021: New revelations
P&ID revealed possession of confidential documents, raising questions about the deal with Nigeria and legal advice provided to the nation, potentially shedding light on the case.
December 22, 2021: Brendan Cahill’s arrest
Brendan Cahill, one of the promoters of P&ID, was arrested as part of an investigation into alleged bribery of Nigerian officials related to the P&ID deal.
January 13, 2022: Pursuit of transparency
The British Virgin Islands Court of Appeal heard the case to overturn a judgement handed down by it on 27 July 2021, refusing the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s application for disclosure.
April 23, 2022: Access to documents
A New York federal court granted Nigeria’s legal team access to critical documents related to the deal with P&ID, further intensifying the legal battle.
Read also: Reps to probe $11bn P&ID contract scam
July 15, 2022: Demanding transparency
In a London High Court hearing, Nigeria pressed for more information on private messages sent among key figures connected with P&ID, revealing a potential conflict of interest within P&ID’s legal representation.
July 15, 2022: Legal pursuit
Nigeria’s legal battle took an important step as it secured further documentation in support of its efforts to overturn the $11 billion arbitration award.
January 23, 2023: The showdown continues
The fraud trial began in London as the Federal Republic of Nigeria sought to set aside the fraudulently procured $11 billion award. Nigeria alleged bribery and corruption on a grand scale. A judgment was reserved for a later date.
October 23, 2023: The verdict
Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales delivered a ruling, dismissing the arbitration award granted to P&ID in 2017.