Nigeria’s Victory Against $11bn Failed Gas Project Huge Indictment Of Predatory International Investors-AGF
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN,says the quashing of the $11bn arbitral award previously made against Nigeria, in 2017, in favour of Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID), was a “damning indictment of predatory international investors.
According to him,the judgment also serves as a damning indictment of predatory international investors, who should now rightfully be deterred from preying upon Nigeria and other developing nations to satisfy their greed.
Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales, on Monday, quashed the $11bn arbitral award in the case marked CL-2019-000752, filed in a Business and Property court in London.
The Federal Government had gone to court to overturn the $6.6bn arbitration award made in favour of P&ID in 2017.
Reacting,the AGF said the judgment found that the award had been obtained by fraud and in a way which was contrary to public policy.
He noted that the arbitral award had over the years placed the assets of Nigeria and those of its agencies all over the world at the risk of attachment, erosion of foreign reserves and distortion of monetary, fiscal and other policies of government with attendant dire consequences for Nigeria and its people.
He added:”This successful result is a decisive victory for the people of Nigeria who stood to lose over US$11 billion, and for the Nigerian administration which has now reached a milestone in its mission to challenge the scourge of corruption.
“P&ID and its associates both Nigerians and foreigners alike, shamelessly attempted to defraud the country and enrich themselves through sharing the FRN’s privileged documents, fraud, bribery and corruption on an industrial scale.
“Those efforts, which took place over many years, have finally been uncovered for all to see” the AGF stated.
“For us in this administration, it has been a night of long knives!
“This success marks the culmination of over a decade of legal action and is not just a victory for the people of Nigeria, but any similar target of corruption and fraud” Fagbemi said.
The AGF pointed out that several agents of P&ID made overtures to the government for settlement of the case.
“However, the resolve of the
administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to go hands in gloves with fraudulent counterparties or condone corruption informed the position of the FRN to hold fast to its position not to settle” the Justice Minister disclosed.
Fagbemi in a statement on Monday, described the judgment as historic and very significant in the annals of Nigeria and indeed Africa.
“This judgement has vindicated the government and should serve as a pointer to others who might be nursing or nurturing any plan to swindle Nigeria.
“The success recorded was as a result of close inter-agency collaboration of the FGN Team comprising the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation (HAGF)/ Federal Ministry of Justice (FMoJ), Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Central bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ministry of Petroleam Resources (MPR), the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) Department of State Security (DSS) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU)” he said.
Besides,the AGF hinted that there would be further hearings by the UK court on the heels of the judgement to determine costs payable by P&ID and other matters.
Mr Justice Robin St John Knowles of the United Kingdom Commercial Court handed down the judgement in the suit where the Federal Republic of Nigeria moved to set aside the arbitral award of US$9.6 (now circa USD11 Billion) made against it in 2017, in favour of Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) for an alleged breach of a Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) it purportedly entered into with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources (MPR) to establish a gas processing plant in Calabar for which P&ID never ever secured any land site.
The Judge had concluded that P&ID obtained the award only by “practising the most severe abuses of the arbitral process”.
John Knowles further noted “That this case has also, sadly, brought together a combination of examples of what some individuals would do for money. Driven by greed and prepared to use corruption; giving no thought to what their enrichment would mean in terms of harm to other.”