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Monday, August 19, 2019

Inside Story Of How Briefcase Company “P&ID’’ Got $9Billion Judgment Against Nigeria

Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID for short) is a “briefcase” company  seeking to reap where it sowed nothing.       it alleged a breach of a Gas Supply and Processing Agreement it entered into with the Federal Government of Nigeria sometime in January 2010

 P&ID never performed the contract and never alleged to have made any investment or expenditure towards its performance. It however commenced arbitration at the London Court of International Arbitration alleging a breach of the contract. 

The process leading to the award of the contract itself remains unclear as there is no evidence that due process was followed in its purported award. The contract was also not approved by the Federal Executive Council or the president. 

The arbitration proceedings were in two parts; the tribunal was first to determine whether Nigeria was liable and if there is a finding on liability, the tribunal would proceed to assess the quantum of damages. 

Nigerian legal team at the liability phase was led by Olasupo Shasore, SAN who vigorously contested the claims on liability. In its decision on liability delivered on 17 July 2015, the tribunal found Nigeria liable. Shasore saw strong legal grounds to challenge the award and Justice Buba of Federal High Court Lagos set aside the London award. 

The Federal High Court also agreed with Shasore that this was a Nigerian matter and on Shasore’s application, made an order restraining the tribunal and the parties from continuing the proceedings. 

For reasons yet undisclosed, FGN changed its legal team replacing Shasore with Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, OFR of Adebayo Chambers and the Federal Ministry of Justice.

 Chief Ayorinde led FGN’s legal team in the proceedings on the amount of damages leading to the award of over $6Billion plus interest against Nigeria. Nigeria did not pursue the Federal High Court case which analysts say could have stopped the hearing. The award was delivered on 31 January 2017. 

The tribunal was made up of Lord Hoffman, Sir Anthony Evans and Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN. Although Chief Ojo did not agree with the majority decision, his dissent is insignificant to the damages that is now being sought to be enforced against FGN.  In the judgment of the court in Great Britain leading to the judgment of $9Billion, Nigeria is represented by Curtis Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle and Mr. Harry Matovu QC. 

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