Five-Year Legal Battle Ends as Justice Declares Judgment “Fraudulently Obtained
In a significant legal victory for the Federal Government of Nigeria, the UK court has ruled against Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) Limited in its pursuit of enforcing an $11 billion debt. The ruling, delivered by Robin Knowles, Justice of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales, on Monday, stated that the judgment was “fraudulently obtained.”
The legal dispute, spanning five years, revolved around a controversial gas deal initiated in January 2010 when P&ID signed a gas supply and processing agreement with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources on behalf of Nigeria. Under the agreement, P&ID was tasked with constructing and operating an Accelerated Gas Development project in Adiabo, Cross River State, utilizing natural gas from oil mining leases.
However, P&ID claimed that Nigeria failed to fulfill its obligations, alleging a breach of the agreement when negotiations with the Cross River State government were opened for land allocation. The company argued that the Nigerian government’s failure to construct the required pipeline system obstructed the gas project, resulting in the loss of potential benefits from over two decades of gas supplies.
The UK court’s decision supported Nigeria’s stance that it was a victim of bribery and deception in the gas deal. The ruling to quash the judgment highlighted concerns about the circumstances under which the award was obtained.
The P&ID controversy had escalated to international arbitration, with the company serving the Nigerian government a Request for Arbitration in August 2012. Despite attempts to settle out of court, the legal battle persisted. The tribunal’s ruling, while acknowledging Nigeria’s obligations, rejected the argument that P&ID’s failure to construct the gas processing facilities was a fundamental breach.
The latest court ruling marks a significant turning point in the case, bringing an end to a prolonged legal battle and relieving Nigeria from the looming $11 billion debt claim.
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