Following the August victory against the $9.6 billion Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID) arbitration fraud judgment, the Federal Republic of Nigeria has again secured another major victory against the British company after appearing before the English High Court Thursday, September 10, 2020, for a scheduled hearing.
Recall Nigeria’s application for a time extension and relief from sanctions granted by a UK Court to enable the country appeal the $9.6 billion judgment previously awarded in favour of P&ID in August.
In a statement Thursday, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, through his spokesperson, Umar Gwandu, said Nigeria will now proceed to a full fraud trial.
“The hearing Thursday was held to decide procedural and costs issues relating to the FRN’s applications to challenge the arbitration award and to determine the short term directions to trial.”
According to a report by the Vanguard, the sitting Judge of the High Court, Cranston J ordered P&ID to make an interim payment of more than £1.5 million within 21 days to cover legal costs the FRN incurred as part of their successful application for the extension of time to challenge the arbitration award and procedural hearing earlier in the year. A case management conference to determine the full trial window is scheduled to take place after November 2020.
What this means for Nigeria
This looks like progress for Nigeria in the fight against corruption because some Nigerians allegedly involved in the P&ID case are said to have benefited from it with the hope of getting more benefit from the fraudulent contract should Nigeria fail to win the case against the British company.
Earlier, Nigeria’s Federal Government was said to have accused some persons of sabotaging their effort at successfully pursuing a strong case for justice against the P&ID fraud.
Olasupo Shasore, a former Attorney General of Lagos, one Ikechukwu Oguine and Mrs Folakemi Adelore were said to have been involved in the plan to sabotage the case against the P&ID.
According to Premium Times, Shasore, whose service was employed in 2012, failed to cross-examine Michael Quinn, the founder of the company, on the matter, an action tantamount to strengthening the argument of P&ID and sabotaging the interest of his country.
Shasore was also accused by FG of non-disclosure of his involvement in the case to his law firm while running it through a different firm, Twenty Marina Solicitors, through which he was reported to have obtained a legal fee of $2million.
The Nigerian government also added that for more than a year, its appeal to Shasore to hand over the necessary documents to Bolaji Ayorinde, the senior lawyer who replaced him in the case, was fruitless as he refused to yield to their demands.
“In clear terms, Nigeria’s legal representative, Mark Howard, stated that in the first two stages of the arbitration, Mr Shasore, deliberately “defended the case thinly”.
According to a briefing note by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Folakemi Adelore, head of the legal unit of the petroleum resources ministry, was said to have criticised Mr Shasore’s strategy in the arbitration.
It was reported that while the case was in progress, Sashore allegedly made a questionable payment of $100,000 each to Folakemi Adelore and Ikechukwu Oguine, who are both legal representatives of the ministry of petroleum resources and NNPC respectively.
All three of them who colluded to dissuade Nigeria from making a strong case against P&ID are part of the settlement team for the ongoing negotiations for the P&ID fraud case according to reports.
Reacting to the bribery allegations against him on Saturday, Sashore said he did the best he could for the country but said nothing about the allegation of bribery and corruption levelled against him.
The ongoing fight against corruption in Nigeria continues, and this recent judgment, there just might be more wins for the country in the next hearing.
According to Malami, “this is another crucial win for Nigeria in our ongoing fight against the vulture-fund-backed P&ID. We are pleased that the English Courts have taken our fraud challenge seriously, and awarded us a substantial interim payment in respect of our successful application for an extension of time to challenge the award.”