The Federal Government is expected to pay the $200 million security deposit ordered by a British Commerical Court in its ongoing case against Process and Industry Development Limited (P&ID), the company has said.
In a statement issued by P&ID on Saturday, the Federal Government had notified the court at a hearing of the case on Friday that it would commence the payment process on Monday.
According to the statement, which was issued by Chris Rogers, Associate Director, iNHouse Communications, the Public Relations firm that represents P&ID, the Nigerian legal team informed the court that President Muhammadu Buhari has granted permission to the relevant government agencies to obtain a bank guarantee.
“Before Justice Butcher today (Friday) in London, the Nigerian legal team acknowledged that President Buhari has authorised the steps to provide a bank guarantee for the $200m in security that was ordered by the English Court in September.
“Moreover, the following steps have already been taken by the Nigerian Government: Ministry of Finance has received approval to proceed with obtaining the bank guarantee; Minister of Finance has submitted a request to the Central Bank of Nigeria to proceed with procuring the bank guarantee; the Central Bank of Nigeria has submitted a request to an unnamed foreign correspondent bank to issue the bank guarantee from London and provide the relevant information to the court,” the company said in a statement emailed to the Punch.
Justice Christopher Butcher, the presiding judge of the UK Commerical Court, had on 26 September granted Nigeria leave to appeal the judgment of a UK Arbitration Tribunal, which had on 16 August ordered Nigeria to compensate P&ID with $9.6 billion over the revocation of a 20-year Gas and Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA) signed in 2010.
However, the court ruled that as part of the conditions for the appeal, the sum of $2oo million must be paid into its account as a security payment within 60 days.
But the Federal Government, through Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, had indicated that it was going to appeal the payment.
Speaking to State House correspondents after a Federal Executive Council meeting on 2 October, Mohammed said the government had instructed its lawyers to appeal against the government at the British Court of Appeal.
The $200 million was expected to be paid by the government alongside the £250,000 running cost to P&ID.
Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, had on 9 October confirmed that the government had paid the £250,000 running cost to P&ID but insisted that the $200 million payment was going to be appealed.
The AGF had last week confirmed that an appeal had been filed.
But P&ID in its statement claimed that the appeal had failed, a development which led to Friday’s hearing before Justice Butcher.
The Irish company described the acceptance of payment as a “major milestone” after the appeal process had supposedly failed.
“The eleventh-hour gambit by Nigeria’s Attorney General Abubakar Malami to avoid paying the $200m in security to the English Court on November 25 has failed,” the company said.
“This is a major milestone and P&ID welcomes the outcome of today’s hearing in London. P&ID expresses hope that the Buhari administration will now accept the reality of the Arbitration Tribunal Award and the decision of the English Court – and end the ridiculous sham investigation and show trials conducted by the EFCC (Economic Financial Crimes Commission) in recent months.
“AGF Malami presented a witness statement that is neither credible nor believable and it impugns both the English court and the Arbitration proceedings chaired by Lord Leonard Hoffman. The ‘evidence’ cited by Malami and others is based purely and exclusively on a government-sanctioned campaign of harassment, intimidation and illegal detention of a number of individuals associated with P&ID or the GSPA contract. AG Malami’s campaign has been nothing more than a blatant perversion of justice and the rule of law,” the statement read.
However, P&ID’s claim about the failed appeal cannot be ascertained as the AGF’s office has not confirmed the development.