A United Kingdom Commercial Court on Thursday granted the Federal Government’s request to appeal a lower court’s judgment which granted the Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID ) the right to seize the nation’s assets worth $9.6 billion.
The UK Commercial Court also approved the government’s application for a “stay of execution” which will prevent the plaintiff, P&ID, from enforcing the UK Arbitration Tribunal’s earlier judgment, while this case is heard before the Court of Appeal.
Reacting to the ruling, the Attorney- General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said, “I am pleased with today’s development in the court and see this as a positive resolution that constitutes an important step in the government’s efforts to defend itself in a fair and just process.
‘‘We look forward to challenging the UK Commercial Court’s recognition of the Tribunal’s decision in the UK Court of Appeal, uncovering P&ID’s outrageous approach for what it is: a sham based on a fraudulent and criminal activity developed to profit from a developing country.”
It will be recalled that P&ID had won its case against Nigeria in August
The contract sum was initially awarded for $6.6 billion but rose to $9.6 billion due to accrued interest since 2013.
In its bid to quash the August ruling by the UK court, a federal government delegation comprising Malami , the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele and the Inspector -General of Police, Mohammed Adamu proceeded to the UK to persuade a British court to set aside an order permitting P&ID to seize $9.6 billion worth of assets from Nigeria.
Experts said the $9.6 billion in question is one-third of Nigeria’s 2020 budget, an amount they said would be enough to fund Nigeria’s broken school system for seven years.
In his address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York this week, President Muhammadu Buhari described P&ID as a fraudulent company desperate to defraud Nigeria.
“We are giving notice to international criminal groups by the vigorous prosecution of the P&ID scam attempting to cheat Nigeria of billions of dollars,” the President said.