The federal government has filed a fraud charge against Process & Industrial Development, a gas processing company, in a British court.
This is Nigeria’s defence against a $9.7 billion judgement awarded against it for a failed gas project in 2010.
The filing comes after a UK court granted Nigeria a stay of execution on the arbitral award with the condition that a $200 million bond be deposited in the next 60 days.
A spokesman for Abubakar Malami, the attorney general, said the government filed “new and substantive” allegations of fraud against the British Virgin Island-based gas company
“The challenge argues that the (contract) was procured on the basis of fraud and corruption, while the subsequent arbitral process was riddled with irregularities and deliberately concealed from the rest of the government,” Malami’s spokesman told Reuters.
According to the spokesman, details of the evidence filed cannot be accessible until the court filing documents are referred to in open court.
“Nigeria’s new filings with the English Court is an act of desperation to try to undo the Court’s sound conclusion that P&ID’s $10 billion award is enforceable,” P&ID said, adding that the award is now worth $10 billion due to interest accrued.
In November, Malami had said the government had discovered fraud in the contract award process, which made the contract itself questionable.
“Over the last few weeks, investigations have revealed a very serious fraud, bringing into question both the legitimacy of the GSPA (gas supply and processing agreement) and the subsequent award itself,” he said.
“As a result of these investigations, the Federation has recently expanded its legal team, which will now enable us to launch in full our challenge against the fraudulently procured agreement and award.”
P&ID reportedly entered a gas supply and processing agreement with Nigeria in 2010. The company claimed Nigeria breached the terms of the contract.
It then took a legal recourse, securing an arbitral award against the country, which has accumulated to $9.6 billion.
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