March 8, 2023

FG asks UK court to cancel $11bn P&ID debt

FG asks UK court to cancel $11bn P&ID debt

The Federal Government has asked a London High Court to deliver judgment in its favour in a case against Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).

In the case marked CL-2019-000752, the FG is seeking to overturn an arbitration award in favour of P&ID which has accrued interest now worth $11 billion.

The company claimed it entered into an agreement with Nigeria to build a gas processing plant in Calabar, Cross River state; but the contract collapsed because the Nigerian government did not live up to its end of the deal.

FG on industrial scale bribery 

The Nigerian government urged the court to dismiss the award, according to written closing submissions, while accusing the firm of suppressing important evidence, bribery, and perjury among others to win the arbitration.

Nigeria’s legal representative, Mark Howard told the court that P&ID obtained its contract “by telling repeated lies and paying bribes to officials”.

Howard said Michael Quinn and Brendan Cahill, founders of P&ID had a “track record of bribery” and were involved in corruption on an “industrial scale”.

The lawyer further said the company financially induced top Nigerian government officials including Rilwan Lukman, a former minister of petroleum resources; Grace Taiga, a former director in the ministry of petroleum resources; Taofiq Tijani, who chaired the government technical committee that reviewed the gas plant contract and several others.

“We see a picture of industrial scale bribery and corruption. This was not some incidental, minor contract on the side. It was fundamental to P&ID’s way of doing business,” Howard said.

Nigerian lawyers indicted 

Lawyers in the Nigerian team during the arbitration proceedings were also bribed, according to Howard.

The indicted lawyers include Olasupo Shasore, former Lagos attorney-general; Folakemi Adelore, legal representative of the ministry of petroleum resources; Ikechukwu Oguine, who was the coordinator, legal services at the NNPC; Belgore and Dikko.

He added that the firm had real-time access to Nigeria’s “privileged materials”, many of which were obtained through “back-channels”.

Trevor Burke and Seamus Andrew, the two lawyers who acted for P&ID in the arbitration proceedings, were also accused of breaching their obligations to the court by ignoring evidence of their client’s corruption in pursuit of a promised “pot of gold”.

“As with the corrupted officials and legal advisors of FRN, so too was the integrity of Mr. Andrew and Mr. Burke compromised,” Howard submitted.

“They were offered life-changing sums of money, contingent upon success in the claim, which induced them to look past evidence of blatant corruption (most obviously in the form of the FRN privileged documents) in the hope of reaching their promised pots of gold. They did so at the expense of their professional obligations.”

Howard said for the aforementioned reasons, Nigeria is “respectfully asking the court to deliver a judgment as soon as reasonably possible”.

However, P&ID has maintained innocence and is requesting that the case be remitted to the original tribunal.