Soni Daniel – Abuja
As the return date for its appeal against $9.6 billion awards to a shadowy British Virgin Island firm-Process and International Development Limited (P&ID) at the British Appeal Court draws nearer, the Federal Government says it has tweaked its legal team with local and international experts with a view to setting aside the entire scandalous contract and the huge cash awarded the firm by the English Commercial and Arbitration Court.
The Appeal Court, which had in October granted a stay of execution of the humongous $9.6 billion fine over the failed gas processing and supply contract against Nigeria, is due to hear the appeal by Nigeria to quash the award based on its argument that the entire contract was a scam deliberately orchestrated by P$ID and some local collaborators to inflict financial and economic loss on the country.
Nigeria’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, said on Wednesday that the Federal Government had started implementing what he called ‘enhanced strategies’ geared towards setting aside the entire P&ID liability and possible nullification of the contract.
The minister’s update on the matter is contained in a statement by his Media Aide, Dr Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, and sent to Vanguard on Wednesday.
According to the Minister, under the new strategy “’ no lawyers were replaced, but more lawyers with specialized skills are locally and internationally engaged to support the existing capacity and initiate fresh suits with a view to achieving the desired result”.
The AGF said: “This time around our approach is not limited to a challenge on enforcement proceedings, but extended to setting aside the entire liability and probably the nullification of the contract on the basis of which the award was hinged”.
“Our lawyers originally engaged have proven to be versatile, competent and effective and constitute our winning team. They have such capacity which we do not doubt in their ability to deliver”.
“There was no change of counsel, but enhanced strategy commonly agreed upon which was targeted at getting overall success,” the Minister added.
It will be recalled that Malami had last October described the so-called P&ID contract as a well-organized scam “consciously, deliberately and intentionally orchestrated by some dubious and well-placed Nigerian government officials at the time with some shrewd foreign collaborators to defraud Nigeria and inflict heavy economic and financial loss on Nigeria and its people”.
He vowed that the Nigerian Government would not sell out the interest of the country and the Nigerian people in order to satisfy some elements who are consciously out to extort the Nigerian people for their selfish aggrandizement.
“We will not allow fraudulent local and foreign collaborators to rip off the resources of Nigeria for no just cause but merely to be seen as being nice or ‘investor-friendly,'” said.