The Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) Thursday appeared in the English High Court for a scheduled hearing.
The hearing followed the major victory secured by FRN last Friday, allowing it to bring a fraud challenge against a $10 billion arbitration award obtained by vulture-fund-backed P&ID well outside the normal time limits.
In a statement on Thursday from the office of Attorney General of the Federation, Nigeria will now proceed to a full fraud trial. The hearing Thursday was held to decide procedural and costs issues relating to the FRN’s applications to challenge the arbitration award and to determine the short term directions to trial.
The sitting Judge of the High Court, Cranston J ordered P&ID to make an interim payment of more than £1.5 million within 21 days to cover legal costs the FRN incurred as part of their successful application for the extension of time to challenge the arbitration award and procedural hearing earlier in the year.
A case management conference to determine the full trial window is scheduled to take place after November 2020.
A spokesperson from the Attorney General of the Federation said:
“This is another crucial win for Nigeria in our ongoing fight against the vulture-fund-backed P&ID. We are pleased that the English Courts have taken our fraud challenge seriously, and awarded us a substantial interim payment in respect of our successful application for an extension of time to challenge the award.
This is a significant blow for P&ID, who continue to attempt to delay the process.
“To date, P&ID and its financial backer VR Capital have not produced a single document or credible witness to challenge the FRN’s fraud evidence. Instead, they continue to resort to disseminating misleading claims, while taking every step possible to delay or obstruct our investigations across multiple jurisdictions.
“The FRN remains firmly committed to overturning the injustice of the $10 billion award, and will not rest until we secure justice for the people of Nigeria – no matter how long it takes. Investigations into the GSPA are ongoing, and we are confident that more of the truth will be revealed over the coming months.”
The spokesperson further stated that “the Honourable Attorney General would like to clarify his remarks made on Arise TV, as reported in an online medium yesterday.
“There will be no negotiation or talk of settlement with P&ID or any related party by or on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The recent judgment of the English Commercial Court confirmed our view that P&ID and its cohorts are fraudsters who have exploited our country. They will not benefit from their corrupt behaviour.
“This is a classic case with overwhelming fraudulent and corrupt undertones. The Federal Government of Nigeria is not considering any possibility of negotiations with P&ID. It has not only fallen within the tall order exception referred to by the Hon Attorney General in his interview with Arise TV yesterday, but lacks any legitimate foundation. We will not and cannot negotiate arbitral awards where the basis and foundation rely on fraud, corruption, breach of processes and procedures.”