The federal government on Friday said it has filed fresh charges in UK courts in its ongoing effort to bring the Process & Industrial Development (P&ID) ”to justice” over the $9.6 billion contract.
“The Federal Republic of Nigeria today filed new and substantive charges in the English Courts, in its ongoing fight against the vulture-fund-backed P&ID. This is a major step forward in their bid to overturn the injustice of the US$9.6 billion award,” a minister said.
The new charges, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said, will challenge both the underlying arbitral award and its enforcement, while lodging a fresh appeal against the subsequent High Court judgment.
He did not give further details on the make-up of the new charges filed.
Mr Malami, who spoke through a statement from his office, said based on new evidence that has become available to the government following recent investigations, ”it is clear the original contract was a sham commercial deal and designed to fail from the outset”.
“The fraud was only recently discovered as a result of President (Muhammadu) Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts spearheaded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,” he said.
The minister said the GSPA (gas supply and processing agreement) was procured on the basis of fraud and corruption.
He said the subsequent arbitral process ”was riddled with irregularities and deliberately concealed from the rest of the government”.
The filing is a significant step forward in the federal government’s fight to secure justice for the people of Nigeria.
The federal government recently expanded its legal team, to include leading London law firm, Mishcon de Reya.
The team is led by Shaistah Akhtar, Partner, and Mark Howard QC of Brick Court Chambers.
The expansion of the legal team, the minister said, will enable the federal government to launch in full its investigations.
The minister said the fresh charges now filed in court against officials of P&ID were “clear and concrete evidence of fraud and corruption discovered recently.”
Recently, the Nigerian government provided a British high court with a $200 million bank guarantee in compliance with the court order.
The court had ordered Nigeria to pay $200 million to the court, while permitting the stay of execution of the $9.6 billion judgment.
Mr Malami said then that Nigeria “does not plan to forfeit the guaranteed sum to the High Court in UK.”