In a significant legal triumph, the Federal Government of Nigeria has emerged successful in its long-standing legal battle against Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) Limited in a United Kingdom (UK) court. After more than five years of rigorous legal proceedings, the court ruled in favor of Nigeria, effectively halting the enforcement of the $11 billion arbitration award previously granted to P&ID.
Delivered via email, the ruling by Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales favored Nigeria’s plea. The judgment was based on the grounds that the ill-fated gas processing contract was obtained through fraudulent means.
Previously, a private arbitration tribunal, on January 31, 2017, had ordered Nigeria to pay an astonishing $6.6 billion to P&ID, with interest dating back to March 20, 2013. Taking into account the fixed interest rate of seven percent, which equated to a staggering $1 million per day, the potential payment had amassed to over $11 billion prior to this verdict.
The High Court in London witnessed an eight-week trial between January and March 2023, during which Nigeria presented its application to set aside the award. It was during this trial that Nigeria revealed that P&ID had been engaged in bribery and corruption on a significant scale. Additionally, key associates of P&ID were found to have concealed evidence of corruption during the initial arbitration proceedings.
Nigeria further argued that lawyers associated with P&ID had disregarded their professional integrity by unlawfully accessing and sharing privileged documents in their relentless pursuit of financial gain.
This victory in the UK court is a crucial milestone for Nigeria, as it successfully refutes the legitimacy of the arbitration award and safeguards the country’s financial interests. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding ethical standards and the rule of law in international business transactions.