Nigeria is yet to deposit the $200 million ordered by a British court following its appeal for a stay of execution of the $8.9 billion (about N3.2 trillion) judgment debt awarded in favour of Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID) Ltd.
The deposit of $200 million was supposed to be paid into the UK Business & Property Court’s account in order to prevent Nigeria’s assets abroad from forfeiture.
Rather than pay the sum, the federal government has appealed the decision and is awaiting the outcome of the appeal, Attorney General of Federation, Abubakar Malami, said on Sunday.
It should be noted that the court gave Nigeria up till November 25 to make the deposit.
Mr Malami, who spoke on Channels TV’s programme, Politics Today, on Sunday, highlighted the need to review the condition of payment of such an amount by Nigeria.
The UK court had in August 2019 awarded $9.6 billion judgment debt against Nigeria over an alleged breach of a gas contract between the country and P&ID.
It was over a gas supply and processing contract which the Ministry of Petroleum Resources signed with P&ID on behalf of the Nigerian government ten years ago.
P&ID was to build and operate an Accelerated Gas Development project in Cross River State while the Nigerian government provides natural gas from oil mining leases (OMLs) 123 and 67 operated by Addax Petroleum and supplied to P&ID to refine into fuel suitable for power generation in the country.
As part of its defence on the alleged breach, the firm claimed that the failure to construct the pipeline system to supply the gas “frustrated the construction of the gas project, thereby depriving it of the potential benefits from over 20 years’ worth of gas supplies.”
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Nigerian government secured a judgement of the British court to suspend the unfavourable ruling on Friday.
The judgment also indicted Nigeria’s first counsel in the arbitration, Olasupo Shasore, who was accused of working against national interest amid other allegations of corruption after receiving a handsome payment of $2 million as legal fees.
$200m deposit appeal
Meanwhile, in his comment on the live programme, Mr Malami said: “We filed an application for variation to allow us perhaps to consider the possibility of posting a bank guarantee as against the posting cash deposit thereto and we appealed against the order.
“So, the order for the deposit of such amount of money and the appeal component is being considered at the superior court of record.
“But one thing I want to place on record is that Nigeria has not paid the amount in contention, has challenged the order as it relates to the posting of cash deposit and, arriving from the context, we have succeeded in perhaps making a case that the condition of payment of such amount should now be reviewed and be considered at the appellate level.”
He further stated that, in lieu of investigations conducted, some persons involved, including government officials, have been prosecuted and convicted.
“As I would not like to be preemptive of taking into consideration that the rise that is there exists the other component of the case to be considered by the court, but the fact still remains that at the local level, some of the principal characters are being investigated.
“Some were not only investigated but arraigned and then there were certain convictions that were recorded within the official circle of government. There are some retired. So perhaps I’m not sure whether there are some that are serving but there are some that have retired out of the system.”
He noted that the people were involved in underhand dealings to the tune of $301 million dollars. Also, the minister disclosed that extensive investigations are still going on.
When asked to elaborate more on the federal government’s findings on Mr Shasore, the minister declined comments on the basis that certain investigations are ongoing.
“I can assure you that the investigations are extensive and all insinuations arising from the investigations will be adequately looked into and at the end of the day if proof exists of any breaches as a financial or otherwise as a compromise as its own processes and procedure or otherwise, we will do the needful in terms of ensuring the interest of the nation is adequately protected in terms of ensuring that there are indeed consequences for wrongdoings,” he replied the anchor.