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Published On: Thu, Oct 3rd, 2019

P&ID: How FG appeal saved Nigeria $9.6b in assets

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By Ese Awhotu

The Federal Government yesterday gave graphic details of how it was able to save the country from losing the sum of $9.6billion in assets to P&ID Company following a recent ruling by a commercial court in the UK.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who briefed newsmen in Abuja on the matter said the Nigerian delegation to London has succeeded in achieving a stay of execution in the controversial judgment, thereby changing the false narrative being peddled by P&ID both within and outside Nigeria by putting across strong evidence that the company is nothing but a fraud.
Lai Mohammed noted that the objectives of the Nigerian delegation to London, which included to change the narrative, especially on the international stage on the
entire P&ID issue, especially in the run-up to the 26 Sept 2019 court hearing on the case; to apply for leave of the commercial court to appeal the judgment that recognised the humongous and unprecedented arbitration award; and to seek a stay of execution on the UK judgment that recognized the approximately 9.6 billion-dollar arbitration award to P&ID over a botched,
20-year gas deal with Nigeria were all achieved.
The Information Minister said the appeal judgment was facilitated by the international legal Firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, retained by the Federal Government in this case, and explained the decision of the court in favour of Nigeria thus:
“The Federal government now has an unconditional permission to appeal against the decision of the Commercial Court recognising and converting the 9.6 billion US dollars arbitration award in favour of P&ID to a domestic judgment. The Nigerian government won a leave of the commercial court to appeal the judgment which P&ID had vehemently resisted.
“The court granted the Federal government unconditional permission to appealagainst its own decision, and the court rejected P&ID’s arguments that there was no basis for any appeal. On the contrary, the judge expressly recognised that the case was of major importance to the Government and people of Nigeria, and that the Federal Government had a serious case to present to the Court of Appeal
that his decision was wrong.
“All but one of the six proposed grounds of appeal by the Nigerian government were all allowed by the Commercial Court. This is a huge success.
“The judge also granted the Federal government a stay of any enforcement proceedings pending the determination of any appeal. He accepted the Federal Government’s evidence as to the weak financial status of P&ID and the fact that it was nothing more than an offshore company with no established business, staff or assets other than the arbitral award that it was trying to enforce and that it would be unable to repay the
proceeds of any enforcement if the Court of Appeal overturned his decision granting leave to enforce the award.
“The judge also recognised that the ownership of P&ID was opaque, and that a vulture fund stands behind it which had engaged lawyers determined to pursue a strategy including the temporary seizure of assets, regardless of state immunity claims.”
Lai Mohammed also said the Federal Government is pleased that the Judge fairly recognised the merits of its arguments and the true nature of P&ID and its strategy, and that he granted
permission to appeal against his own decision and a stay pending appeal. The Federal Government looks forward to its day in court in the Court of Appeal, where it is confident that it will receive a fair hearing of its case and that the order permitting enforcement of the arbitral award will be set aside.
He however gave the conditions imposed by the Courts for the Stay of Execution to include:
‘The Federal Government shall pay the sum of 200 million US dollars into the Court Funds Office within 60 days of the date of this order;
‘The Federal Government shall make a payment in the sum of 250,000 GBP, representing P&ID’s solicitors advance costs, within a period 14 working days.
“Please note, gentlemen, that Nigeria will be able to demand for a refund of the 250,000 GBP payment to P&ID where the government wins on the appeal. This fact is being hidden by those who have been spinning the London judgment in their own favour.
“On the 200 million US dollars payment as a condition for the granting of the stay of execution, Nigeria has instructed its lawyers to seek the leave of the Court of Appeal to appeal against that payment,” he said.

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