P&ID case: UK Court orders release of $200m guarantee to Nigeria

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By Ikenna Omeje

Nigeria’s determination to overturn a court judgement in favor of Process and Industry Development (P&ID), a firm based in the British Virgin Islands, received a boost  on Tuesday, as a  London Commercial Court  ordered the release of the $200million guarantee put in place as security for the stay of execution granted Nigeria for the appeal filed against the judgment of Justice Christopher Butcher for the execution of the Arbitral award of $10 billion in favour of P&ID.
P&ID had sought to increase the security to $400 million, but the court presided over by Sir Ross Cranston rejected the request and ordered cost of £70,000 against P&ID.
The court had earlier in the month granted another cost of £1.5million against P&ID.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, while commenting on the outcome said: “Due to the substantial evidence of prima facie fraud established before the Court, we are pleased that the Judge has agreed to release the guarantee. We are also pleased that the Court has rejected P&ID’s application to increase the guarantee, which was clearly intended to be a diversionary tactic and entirely misconceived. This release which is an accretion into the reserves will further enhance the nation’s management of the exchange rate of its domestic currency, the Naira.
“This is a further and significant victory for Nigeria in our ongoing fight to overturn the US$10 billion award procured through fraud and corruption by P&ID and former government officials.
“P&ID and its backers, Lismore Capital and VR Advisory, are increasingly seeing their case slip between their fingers. They continue to resort to employing delay tactics, disseminating misleading claims, and taking every step to obstruct our investigations across multiple jurisdictions.
“The FRN will not rest until we secure justice for the people of Nigeria – no matter how long it takes. Investigations are ongoing, and we are confident that more of the truth will be revealed over the coming months.”
It would be recalled that on January 31, 2017, an arbitration tribunal had ruled that Nigeria should pay P&ID, the sum of $6.6 billion as damages and breach of contract after a 2010 deal for a gas project in the Niger Delta part of Nigeria collapsed. The pre and post judgement accrued interest of 7 percent has seen the amount standing against Nigeria, rise to almost $10 billion, an amount that will be a serious dent on the country’s external reserve.

Nigeria has moved to upturn the judgement, alleging corruption in the award of the contract, which it also said was awarded on illegal terms. In September 2019, a high power delegation from Nigeria was in the UK regarding the case in an effort to present a proper case for Nigeria

Nigeria in September this year successfully sought the right to appeal an August ruling that would have converted the arbitration award to a judgment, which would make it easier for P&ID to seize its assets.
Justice Cranston J. of United Kingdom High Court had on September 10, 2020 ordered P&ID to make an interim payment of more than £1.5 million to the federal government within 21 days.
The £1.5 million was to cover legal costs the federal government incurred as part of its successful application for the extension of time to challenge the arbitration award and procedural hearing earlier in the year.
 Source: This Day

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