Fed Govt to deposit $200m
Judge okays request to appeal verdict
Nigeria won the first battle on Thursday in its bid to quash the $9.6 billion arbitral judgment awarded to Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID)
Justice Butcher of the United Kingdom Commercial Court, sitting in London, ordered a stay of execution of the judgment. The execution of the judgment would have led to the forfeiture of $9.6 billion Nigerian assets.
The court also granted Nigeria leave to file an appeal challenging the judgment.
But Justice Butcher ruled that Nigeria should make $200 million Security deposit before the court within 60 days.
The firm secured the damages against Nigeria following a failed Gas Supply Project Agreement (GSPA) contract signed with the Federal Ministry of Petroleum.
No due diligence was observed before officials signed the contract. There was no approval by the Federal Executive Council
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), said the country’s lawyers would consider whether to appeal the order to deposit $200 million.
Reviewing the ruling, Malami said: “Leave to appeal has been granted. Stay of execution is also granted subject to making $200 million security payment to court pending the determination of the appeal.
“The steps we will consider are to study the ruling and act in a way beneficial to the interest of the nation.
”We will study the court ruling, exercise the right of appeal and consider the legal options available at our disposal as it relates to the payment of $200m in view of the 60 days window stipulated by the court.”
He added: “I am pleased with today’s development in the court and I see this as a positive resolution that constitutes an important step in the government‘s efforts to defend itself in a fair and just process.
“We look forward to challenging the UK Commercial Court’s recognition of the Tribunal’s decision in the UK Court of Appeals, uncovering P&lD’s outrageous approach for what it is: a sham based on fraudulent and criminal activity developed to profit from a developing country.”
At the hearing, which took place in Court 19, 7 Rolls Building, Fetter Lane London EC4A 1NL, at 10.30am (London time), the judge initially insisted on a $250million security deposit before granting the stay of execution.
But Nigeria stick to $100million before the judge settled for $200million.
One of the lawyers in court said: “Our lawyers did a fantastic job of presenting our case. They were led by Harry Matovu, assisted by others including Timi Balogun.
“The judge asked us to deposit $250 million as a condition for granting us a stay of execution, but after a diligent counter argument, during which we argued for the deposit of $100 million, he ruled that we should deposit $200 million as a condition for granting us a stay of execution.”