The Nigerian government has moved closer to overturning the $9.6 billion judgment debt awarded against it in favour of Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) by a United Kingdom (UK) court.
Many believe the UK court verdict was an injustice and a direct result of fraud and corruption against Nigeria.
In what appears to be a positive step forward for Nigeria, the United Kingdom Commercial Court, presided over by Justice Butcher, yesterday accepted the application of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in its case against P&ID to vary the condition of the stay of execution of the enforcement order it had earlier granted P&ID.
Investigations on the matter revealed serious fraud, bringing into question the legitimacy of the Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) and the subsequent award.
The UK court, last Friday, rejected the application of the Federal Government for an extension of time to comply with the deposit of $200 million condition but indicated its readiness to accept a “satisfactory bank guarantee” as proposed by the Federal Government towards the end of the hearing on November 22, 2019.
But last Monday (November 25, 2019), the court, while hearing the application for variation, granted an extension of the stay till November 26, 2019, and to yesterday, when it finally varied the condition for stay.
This will subsist pending the hearing of the appeal filed before the UK Court of Appeal by Nigeria against the enforcement of the award based on an alleged fraudulent Gas Supply and Processing Agreement purportedly signed by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources during the tenure of now deceased Rilwanu Lukman and P&ID.
The Federal Government has maintained its decision to challenge the legality and validity of the GSPA locally and in the UK, where it is still contending that Nigeria is the seat of Arbitration.
The Federal Government had also insisted that no payment to P&ID could be made, as they are under active investigation for fraud and corruption.
The court did maintain that its deadlines must be complied with.
For this reason, Nigeria proposed a bank guarantee as a variation to the previous order. This was approved by the UK court.
With yesterday’s security by the Commercial Court, Nigeria moves closer to overturning the injustice in the $9.6 billion judgment debt earlier awarded in favour of P&ID against the country.