The Nigerian government and Abubakar Malami, the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, have urged the United Kingdom high court to cancel $11 billion in damages over a failed and allegedly fraudulent gas deal.
The lawyers representing Nigeria told London’s High Court that Nigeria was the victim of “a campaign of bribery and deception.” They appealed against an $11 billion damages bill.
Reportedly, a London arbitration tribunal in 2017 awarded $6.6 billion in damages to Process & Industrial Developments Ltd., a little-known British Virgin Islands-based company, over loss related to the failed project. With interest, the amount has now swelled to just over $11 billion. The Nigerian government asked the high court to stop the firm from collecting a massive arbitration award.
The lawyers representing Nigeria alleged that the 20-year contract awarded to the firm in 2010 was procured by bribes paid to senior officials at its Ministry of Petroleum Resources. The lawyers demanded that the award should be overturned. They also said that P&ID bribed Nigeria’s legal representatives.
Under the deal, Nigeria agreed to provide free gas for 20 years to P&ID. In return, the firm agreed to build the planned refinery for processed gas that would be used for electricity generation. The firm said it failed to build a refinery because the Nigerian government failed to tap its natural gas. In 2012, P&ID initiated arbitration, saying that they were unable to resolve the issue privately.
P&ID denied it paid bribes to Nigerian officials to procure the contract. The firm said that Nigeria breached the contract.
The trial is among the biggest in UK history in terms of the amount of money involved. The trial is scheduled to continue until March 2023.