The Federal Government has launched a fresh lawsuit challenging the $9.6billion award made against it; in respect of the controversial gas supply contracted purportedly awarded to an Irish firm, Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Limited.
The filing has been expected for months; as the window to appeal the award expired; and proving fraud or corruption in the foundation of the P&ID contract is the only way to overturn it.
“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.
Attorney-General Abubakar Malami has repeatedly said; that an investigation this year by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had uncovered proof of fraud.
“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 explained
The attorney general’s office calculates the total to be roughly $9.7 billion.
The EFCC had already charged a former government lawyer with allegedly taking bribes; and charged two Britons with money laundering in relation to the case.
The 2010 deal for P&ID, was set up solely for the project; to build a gas processing plant, and for the government to supply it with gas.
It collapsed without any construction taking place, though P&ID said it spent $40 million on a design and feasibility study.
P&ID initiated arbitration in 2012, and in 2017; a UK tribunal awarded P&ID $6.6 billion, plus interest, based on what it could have earned over two decades.
The award is accruing more than $1 million in interest per day; and is now worth close to a quarter of Nigeria’s foreign reserves.