• Thursday, February 29, 2024
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UK Court awards £20m to Nigeria in P&ID case victory

In a major development in the long-running legal battle between Process & Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) and the Nigerian government, a UK court has awarded Nigeria £20 million in damages and compensation in the long-running $11 billion P & ID case.

This ruling follows Nigeria’s historic victory in October 2023, which saw the court quash the fraudulent $11 billion arbitration award in favor of P&ID.

“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.

P&ID had filed for fresh arbitration to revive their claims against Nigeria for alleged breach of a 2010 gas supply agreement.

However, the High Court in London ruled that the arbitration could not proceed as long as the 2023 judgment remained in place.

On October 23, 2023, Robin Knowles, justice of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales, had halted the award enforcement by upholding Nigeria’s prayer that it was obtained by fraud and in violation of section 68 of the English Arbitration Act 1996.

The judge found that P&ID had paid bribes to Nigerian officials involved in the drafting of the gas supply and processing agreement (GSPA) in 2010.

He also found that P&ID illegally possessed Nigeria’s privileged legal documents during the arbitration hearings.

Read also P&ID: UK court orders release of $200m to Nigeria

However, Knowles said he still had to choose from three options after making his determination: (a) to remit the award to the tribunal, in whole or in part, for reconsideration, (b) to set the award aside in whole or in part, or (c) to declare the award to be of no effect, in whole or in part. Nigeria had argued that the award should be set aside, invoking the common law principle that “fraud unravels all”.

In his Final pronouncement on Friday, Knowles said he had decided against sending the award back to the arbitration tribunal.

He crushed the award in its entirety. P&ID is now seeking Knowles’ permission to appeal the October 2023 judgment.

“The court refused to grant P&ID permission to take the matter back to arbitration, saying that the company’s conduct during the process was reprehensible and therefore it completely set aside the $11 billion judgment,” Arise News Channel said.