In a significant development within the protracted legal dispute between Process & Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) and the Nigerian government, a UK court has adjudicated in favor of Nigeria, awarding £20 million in damages and compensation in the ongoing $11 billion P&ID case.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
This legal milestone stems from Nigeria’s historic triumph in October 2023, wherein the court nullified the fraudulent $11 billion arbitration award favoring P&ID. Following this, Nigeria sought at least £20 million from P&ID to cover damages and legal fees. P&ID’s legal team aimed to limit the damages payable to Nigeria and contested the currency of payment, advocating for payment in naira. However, the court unequivocally mandated P&ID to pay £20 million to Nigeria within 28 days, a plea for appeal on the currency denied.
P&ID, in a bid to revive claims against Nigeria for an alleged breach of a 2010 gas supply agreement, had initiated fresh arbitration proceedings. Nevertheless, the High Court in London ruled against the arbitration’s continuation as long as the 2023 judgment remained valid.
On October 23, 2023, Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales halted the enforcement of the award, acknowledging Nigeria’s argument that it was fraudulently obtained and violated section 68 of the English Arbitration Act 1996. The judge exposed P&ID’s bribery to Nigerian officials involved in the 2010 gas supply and processing agreement and their illicit possession of Nigeria’s privileged legal documents during arbitration hearings.
Despite having multiple options, including remitting the award for reconsideration or setting it aside, Knowles opted to annul the award entirely, citing the common law principle that “fraud unravels all.” Nigeria contended that the award should be set aside, invoking this principle.
In the final pronouncement, Knowles denied P&ID permission to return the matter to arbitration, emphasizing the reprehensible conduct exhibited by the company during the process. Consequently, the court completely nullified the $11 billion judgment, prompting P&ID to seek Knowles’ permission to appeal the October 2023 judgment.