In the judgment delivered on Thursday, September 3, 2020, Ross Cranston, a judge of the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, granted Nigeria’s application.
A brief overview of the P&ID case
In 2010, P&ID entered a 20-year gas contract with Nigeria.
Under the terms of the contract, the company was supposed to build and operate a plant to refine natural gas into “lean gas” in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
For some reason, the contract was never executed.
In 2012, P&ID dragged Nigeria to court, claiming breach of contract.
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In August of 2019, P&ID won its case against Nigeria, with a court ruling that Nigeria should pay the company $10 billion.
Nigeria appealed the judgment and a stay of execution was granted; which prevented P&ID from seizing Nigeria’s assets while the case was heard.
The judge has now ruled that the deal was a fraudulent one, a position Buhari has maintained for years.
As it stands, the case can now return to arbitration based on new evidence, or both parties could settle out of court, as opposed to Nigeria paying the company $10 billion.
For context, $10 billion is one-third of Nigeria’s 2020 budget–an amount sufficient to fund Nigeria’s broken school system for seven years.
Presidency reacts to latest judgement
“In our view, the judgment is right, just and provides a strong prima facie case that the fraudulent gas deal with P&ID and the subsequent judgment debt of $10 billion against Nigeria was a clear attempt to cheat the country of billions of dollars by a company that had not invested one Naira in our country,” Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said in a statement.
“On the arbitration award, it is a source of huge satisfaction that the UK Court, among others, had ruled that:
‘‘Nigeria has established a strong prima facie case that the Gas Supply and Processing (GSPA) was procured by bribes paid to insiders as part of a larger scheme to defraud Nigeria.
‘There is also a strong prima facie case that that (P&ID) main witness in the arbitration, Mr Quinn, gave a perjured evidence to the Tribunal, and that contrary to that evidence, P&ID was not in the position to perform the contract.’’
“The presidency expresses delight with the processes that led to this outcome in the English Court, noting that it has given relief to the Nigerian government to further protect our national assets from criminally-minded organisations and individuals.
“The views of the UK court thus provide sufficient grounds for the federal government to go ahead and challenge the fraud perpetrated by the company and overturn the arbitration award.
“President Muhammadu Buhari therefore commends the team of lawyers who represented Nigeria in the matter with P&ID, and reassures all well-meaning Nigerians and the international community of his unwavering commitment to fight corruption in all its forms and manifestation,” the statement from the presidency added.
Source: Pulse Nigeria.