Nigeria would have to pay $250,000 cost awarded by a United Kingdom court to be able to file an appeal against the $9.6bn arbitral judgment, the Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) has said.
This is just as a Commercial Court in London presided over by Justice Christopher Butcher on Thursday granted Nigeria’s application for stay of execution of the enforcement of the $9.6bn arbitral award pending the Federal Government’s appeal.
Granting the request, the judge ordered Nigeria to make a $200m security payment into its account within 60 days.
He also granted Nigeria’s request for a leave to file the appeal in respect of the $9.6bn arbitral award.
AFP reports that the amount of the running cost was not disclosed in the open court.
But P&ID, in a statement e-mailed to The PUNCH following enquiries from the firm at the end of the Thursday’s proceedings, said the running cost which the Nigeria government must pay to it within 14 days before it could file the appeal amounted to $250,000.
It said the Thursday’s ruling by the British court was not a permission to the Federal Government to appeal against the arbitral award but to appeal against its enforcement in the form of seizure of its assets.
The statement read, “For background, today’s judgment granted the Nigerian government leave to appeal the UK court’s decision that it could be subject to asset seizures to enforce the arbitration award in favour of P&ID.
“It does not allow the government to appeal the award itself.
“As you’ll be aware, the High Court in the UK heard arguments in the case today, with the Nigerian government seeking a stay of asset seizures and leave to appeal the asset seizure decision.
“The court has ruled the government may appeal – if it meets the conditions that $250,000 must be paid to P&ID in costs within 14 days and $200m in security paid to the court within 60 days.”
The British court had in August this year delivered a judgment recognising a London-based arbitration panel’s award of $9.6bn against Nigeria over a failed Gas Supply Processing Agreement signed in 2010 between the Federal Government and P&ID for “lean gas” production in the country.
Parties to the case returned to the court on Thursday with Nigeria obtaining the leave of the court to appeal against the judgment and an order of conditional stay of execution of the judgment subject to the Federal Government’s payment of security fund of $200m into the court’s account within 60days.
Reacting to the Thursday’s proceedings in a separate statement posted on a website dedicated to the firm’s public relations on the controversial judgment, the P&ID said the Federal Government’s much-touted allegation of fraud in the GSPA which led to the arbitral award of $9.6bn against the country, was not canvassed when the matter came up before a United Kingdom court on Thursday.
The Federal High Court in Abuja had on September 19, 2019 convicted and wound P&ID Limited incorporated in British Virgin Island, and the firm’s Nigerian affiliate, P&ID (Nigeria) Limited, for fraud, tax evasion, among other sundry offences.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, had said the conviction of the two firms was a judicial proof that the GSPA was fraudulent.
He had said the proof of fraud would be presented before the UK court to boost Nigeria’s chances of having the judgment set aside.
But P&ID said the fraud allegation about the agreement turned out to be a mere red herring as no evidence was put forward to back it by Nigeria’s legal team in court.
It stated, “The Nigerian Government’s recent media exercise to allege fraud against the P&ID turned out to be a red herring. Indeed, the Nigerian Government did not present any evidence to support Attorney General Malami’s ‘findings’ from his sham investigation.
“The Nigerian Government knows there was no fraud and the allegations are merely political theatre designed to deflect attention from its own shortcomings.”
It said Nigeria must have to quickly pay the sum of $200m to avoid immediate seizure of its assets
“The court has ruled that the Nigerian Government must put up $200m to maintain a stay of execution whilst it pursues an appeal against enforcement of the now $9.6bn award in favour of P&ID.
“The Nigerian government will now have to put its money where its mouth is if it wants to avoid immediate seizure of assets.”
AFP reports that Justice Butcher said on Thursday that P&ID had the right to seize Nigerian assets should either of those deadlines be missed.
It quoted Justice Butcher as further ruling “that there may be immediate and potentially severe damage to Nigeria if there is no stay”.