Nigeria dispatches delegation to UK over $9.6 billion judgment debt
The Federal Government yesterday said it had dispatched a high-powered delegation to the United Kingdom to met with the legal team over the $9.6 billion judgment awarded against Nigeria in the botched gas swap deal it entered with the Irish firm, Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID).
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who dropped the hint in Abuja, said: “All cards are on the table, but it all depends on the beneficiary that has the potency for setting aside the award having regards to the applicable law in the circumstances.”
The minister, who concealed the identities of members of the team was shedding light on the recent development as to whether the delegation would file a new case based on prevailing realities or build on the previous ruling.
He said no possibility was ruled out, including “the possibility of filling a new case and or using existing proceedings to seek relief of setting aside the award (of the contract).”
Malami hinted that the delegation hopes to arrive in time for the case which comes up on September 26 before a British court.
He had said the case was yet to reach an appeal level but pointed out that government would tender before the court evidence that the gas deal was fraudulent ab nitio.
The AGF said the government would tender, among others, the report of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as well as Thursday’s judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja convicting the British Virgin Island-registered Irish company and its Nigerian affiliate of fraud.
Nigeria would also present the pending charges against the firms and individuals who played one role or the other in the alleged fraudulent pact.
Malami said: “It has not got to any appeal stage as such. The arbitration panel has no enforcement power. So, when an award is made, you have to approach the conventional court for the enforcement of the award.”
“What they (P&ID) did was to approach the conventional court for the enforcement of the award. The conventional court said it was not going to give an order for the enforcement of the order until they were heard.
“They had wanted an ex parte order without putting us on notice to attach (for the seizure of) our assets. But the court said it would have to hear from the other side (Nigeria) in the enforcement proceedings.”
He continued: “The court fixed September 26 for the hearing of arguments by the parties as to whether or not to allow for the enforcement.
“So, it is not about an appeal now. The court’s pronouncement as to what amount of money to be paid has been made by the court. They now approached the court to allow them to attach Nigerian assets in fulfillment of the award that was granted.
“The court fixed September 26 for the entertainment of arguments as to whether or not it would allow the attachment of Nigeria’s assets.
“So, we are going to the British court to argue that they should not be granted the power to attach the assets. The only thing that can be of help to Nigeria in stopping the enforcement of the entire award is proof of corrupt practices as the basis for the arbitral award.”