P&ID: Nigeria to appeal against payment of $200m deposit
Nigeria Wednesday instructed its lawyers to appeal against the payment of $200 million US dollars payment which was a condition for the granting of the stay of execution in the $9.6bn award in favour of Process and Industrial Development Limited.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this in Abuja noted that the Federal Government has succeeded in 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 adding 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.
Lai Mohammed explained that conditions Imposed by the Courts for the Stay of Execution include that the Federal Government pay the sum of 200 million US dollars into the Court Funds Office within 60 days of the date of this order and also make a payment in the sum of 250,000 GBP, representing P&ID’s solicitors advance costs, within a period 14 working days.
He noted that had Nigeria lost its quest for a stay of execution on the UK judgment that recognised the approximately 9.6 billion-dollar arbitration award to P&ID over a botched, 20-year gas deal with Nigeria, P&ID would by now be attempting to seize our assets all over the world.
“It was indeed a huge victory, and P&ID has every reason to be worried that the 9.6 billion US dollars arbitration award to it has a good chance of being overturned,” Mohammed said.
“Remember they boasted, before the judgment, that they have started compiling a list of our assets which they will attach. But now, that’s an empty boast, thanks to the successes recorded in the court of law and the court of public opinion last week.”
The minister said Nigeria has a good chance of being successful in its impending appeal, otherwise, the Commercial Court would not have allowed the appeal. He noted that the delegation had argued that contract of such magnitude cannot be valid until it has been vetted by the Office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and taken to the Federal Executive Council for approval.
“None of these was done,” Mohammed said. “The sham contract was also signed in contravention of the Bureau of Public Procurement Act and the Infrastructural Regulatory Commission Procurement Act.”
“While the MoU for the project was signed in 2009 by P&ID Nigeria Limited and the Nigerian government (Ministry of Petroleum Resources), a ‘trick’ clause dubiously inserted in the MoU was curiously activated that allowed British Virgin Island (BVI)-registered P&ID to replace the original contractual party, P&ID Nigeria Limited, to sign the contract on Jan. 11, 2010.
The Minister disclosed that P&ID, incorporated in British Virgin Islands, is a shell company that has no history of any business except the phantom GSPA in Nigeria. He added that there was no Board resolution approving the assignment of the contractual interest to P&ID BVI and that P&ID never kick-started the construction of the project facility, despite its claim to have invested $40 million in Nigeria. The company also never acquired any land to build the gas processing plant.
Mohammed alleged that there was no proof of any financial commitment by P&ID toward the execution and implementation of its own obligation as stipulated in the 2010 agreement adding that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) confirmed there was no trace of any funds brought into Nigeria by P&ID
According to him, two Directors of P&ID Nigeria Kuchazi, a Director of P&ID BVI, and Adamu Usman Mohammed a director of P&ID Nigeria have been convicted of charges of money laundering and economic sabotage while suspicious payments were made to Mrs. Grace Taiga, the Legal Director in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
“Mrs Taiga was supposed to ensure that the interest of the country was adequately protected. Of course, the payment, transferred in three tranches, could only have been made in appreciation of the ‘good deed’ done to P&ID by Mrs Taiga. Also, billions of Naira in suspicious cash transfers were made by P&ID. Investigations continue into these transfers.”
According to the contract, the gas for the project was expected to come from OML 67 operated by ExxonMobil and OML 123 operated by Addax. But none of the two companies was even aware of the agreement.
For such a supposedly important project, Mohammed noted there was no budgetary provision for the implementation of the GSPA in the budget of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in 2010, and P&ID did not obtain the necessary license to deal in petroleum products from the Department of Petroleum Resources as stipulated by extant laws.
The firm also neither filed tax returns nor paid VAT to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as required by law.
While explaining the details of the judgement which was facilitated by the retained international legal Firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, retained by the Nigerian Government, the minister further revealed that Nigeria 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 appeal against 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 its decision was wrong.
To underscore the major victory Nigeria secured in challenging the judgment, the Minister said “All but one of the six proposed grounds of appeal by the Nigerian government were allowed by the Commercial Court. This is a huge success.”
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