A sitting Judge of of the High Court, Queens Bench Division in charge of the Administrative Court, Ross Cranston, has ordered P&ID to make a substantial interim payment within 21 days to cover legal costs the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) incurred as part of the country’s recent successful application for the extension of time to challenge the arbitration award and procedural hearing.
Though a case management conference to determine the full trial window is scheduled to take place after November 2020, the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations in the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, described the latest development as a crucial win.
According to him, “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.
“This is a significant blow for P&ID, who continue to attempt to delay the process.
“To date, P&ID and its financial backer VR Capital have not produced a single document or credible witness to challenge FRN’s fraud evidence.
“Instead, P&ID has continued to resort to disseminating misleading claims, while taking every step possible to delay or obstruct our investigations across multiple jurisdictions.
“FRN remains firmly committed to overturning the injustice of the $10 billion award, and will not rest until we secure justice for the people of Nigeria – no matter how long it takes.
“Investigations into GSPA are ongoing, and we are confident that more of the truth will be revealed over the coming months.”
In a related development, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has said FRN is not considering any possibility of negotiations with P&ID.
Malami, in a statement by Gwandu, said: “There will be no negotiation or talk of settlement with P&ID or any related party by or on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“The recent judgment of the English Commercial Court confirmed our view
that P&ID and its cohorts are fraudsters who have exploited our country. They will not benefit from their corrupt behaviour.
“This is a classic case with overwhelming fraudulent and corrupt undertones. The Federal Government of Nigeria is not considering any possibility of negotiations with P&ID.
“It is has not only fallen within the tall order exception referred to by the Hon. Attorney General in his interview with Arise TV yesterday, but lacks any legitimate foundation.
“We will not and cannot negotiate arbitral awards where the basis and foundation rely on fraud, corruption, breach of processes and procedures.
“The Government remains wholly committed to fighting this case to overturn the exorbitant award without paying a single naira of public money to these fraudsters.”