Press Statement issued by the Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, Rev David Ugolor at a World Press Conference on the UK Court Ruling Against P&ID Scandal held on Thursday 26 October, 2023 at ANEEJ Advocacy Office, Suez Crescent, Abuja
Gentlemen of the press,
It is with great honour and gladness in my heart that I welcome you all to this very important World press conference as the official reaction of the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice to the UK Court ruling on the Process and Industrial Development Limited, P&ID, scandal.
You would recall that on Monday the Business and Property Court in London stopped the enforcement of the $11bn arbitration award in favour of P&ID against Nigeria in a case marked CL-2019-000752.
The Judge, Robin Knowles found that the massive arbitration award in favour of Process & Industrial Development Ltd. (P&ID) was tainted by fraud. In his words; “The awards were obtained by fraud. The way in which the awards were procured was contrary to public policy.”
We are enthused that Nigeria was able to establish a strong prima facie case that the 2010 gas project agreement between the government and P&ID “was procured by bribes paid to insiders as part of a larger scheme to defraud Nigeria”.
We are equally happy to note that even though Nigeria won this case, the London court lambasted some Nigerian officials for their greediness and unpatriotic act that would have cost the country $11 billion in damages, which would have amounted to one third of the 2024 budget
You may further recall that for several years, the Nigerian government has been involved in a battle with Process & Industrial Development Ltd since the company accused the Nigerian government of botching a deal by failing to provide gas to them.
The country had suffered a $6.6bn judgement debt in 2017 when the arbitration tribunal ordered the country to pay P&ID with interest to start counting from March 2013.
P&ID, in its claims, said Nigeria violated the terms of its agreement by failing to provide gas for the power plant it wants to build for the country.The government of Former president Goodluck Jonathan, sadly reached an out-of-tribunal agreement for the payment of $850 million and passed on disbursement to the administration of President Buhari.
But former President Muhammadu Buhari baulked at the idea of paying the negotiated sum, set aside the settlement agreement, and challenged the enforcement of the award before the English Commercial Court. But the London court added $2.4 billion in interest, making it $9bn.
Luckily, the judge granted Nigeria’s request for a stay on any asset seizures while its legal challenge is pending but ordered it to pay $200 million to the court within 60 days to ensure the stay. Nigeria was also to pay some court costs to P&ID within 14 days.
The original decision on August 16 converted an arbitration award held by P&ID to a legal judgment, which would allow P&ID to try to seize international assets.
In 2018, Nigeria began investigating the company through the EFCC and found evidence of two bank transfers totalling $20,000 made by Dublin-based Industrial Consultants (International) Ltd. — part of the P&ID group of companies—to Grace Taiga, a Nigerian government lawyer who oversaw the award of the gas plant contract. This is how unscrupulous Nigerians have continued to fleece this country and bringing it to its knees.
For us in ANEEJ, we see the outcome of the case as a blessing for poor Nigerians that are currently suffering from grand corruption carried out by Nigerian elites and their foreign collaborators over the years. The UK Court has helped to block the stealing of poor people’s resources and we cannot but commend the UK Government and the tenacity of the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration not to accept the dubious out of court settlement initiated by the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
We therefore wish to call on the Nigeria and UK Governments to ensure that they expose and prosecute all those who are involved in the grand corruption to serve as a deterrence and also end the culture of impunity in business transactions in Nigeria.
We also call on the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi to set up a panel of enquiry to unpack what happened in the P &ID Case and draw lessons for future engagement.
The Nigerian and UK Government should blacklist and place an indefinite ban on the companies and individuals that were involved in the scandalous business transaction.
For transparency and accountability purposes, we wish to call on the Nigerian government to publish the total amount spent in the prosecution of the case.
Thank you all for honouring our invitation and may God bless Nigeria!