A BRITISH High Court on September 29 rejected a bid by P&ID to double a $200 million guarantee in its ongoing legal battle with the Nigerian government over a judgement debt. The company had asked for Nigeria to deposit $400 million with the English court.
The court also awarded Nigeria costs for the application.
The hearing is part of the Nigerian government’s ongoing challenge to overturn the $10bn arbitration award obtained by Process & Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID). P&ID is owned by VR Capital and an opaque shell entity Lismore Capital.
The court agreed with the Nigerian government that there has been a fundamental change of circumstances since the security was ordered, arising from the English High Court’s conclusion that the government had established strong prima facie evidence that P&ID and its associates attempted to defraud Nigeria of billions of US dollars through bribery, dishonest collusion and perjured evidence.
The case revolves around an agreement signed in 2009. Under this, Nigeria agreed to provide gas to a processing plant built by P&ID in Cross Rivers State. Nigeria did not deliver the gas, P&ID did not build the plant.
P&ID managed to win a court ruling imposing a penalty and interest from the state. Currently, the award is worth around $10bn, but Nigeria is fighting the judgement.
‘Due to the substantial evidence of prima facie fraud established before the court, we are pleased that the judge has agreed to release the guarantee,’ said the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Godwin Emefiele.
‘We are also pleased that the Court has rejected P&ID’s application to increase the guarantee, which was clearly intended to be a diversionary tactic and entirely misconceived. This release … will further enhance the nation’s management of the exchange rate of its domestic currency, the naira.’
P&ID and its backers are using ‘delay tactics, disseminating misleading claims and taking every step to obstruct our investigations across multiple jurisdictions,’ he said.
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