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Friday, December 13, 2019

UK Judge grants firm plea to seize Nigeria asset worth $9 billion

A judge in London said on Friday he would grant a firm called Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) the right to seek to seize some $9 billion in assets from the Nigerian government over an aborted gas project.

The company was awarded $6.6 billion in an arbitration decision over a failed project to build a gas processing plant in Calabar. With interest payments, the sum now tops $9 billion – some 20% of Nigeria’s foreign reserves

The judge’s decision, issued on Friday, converts the arbitration award to a legal judgement, which would allow P&ID to try to seize international assets.

Buhari scorned at out of Court settlement by past administration

In 2018 a District Court in Washington D.C. gave judgment affirming a $6.59 billion arbitral award, plus $2.30 billion interest, against Nigeria, after the country failed to show up in court to defend her own case.

The matter went to court after Buhari administration rejected an out of court settlement negotiated by Jonathan administration.

Under the negotiated settlement, the country would have paid less than 10 per cent of the $8.9 billion award if the Muhammadu Buhari administration had acted in line with the recommendation passed to it by the preceding Goodluck Jonathan regime.

But rather than take the recommended action, the Buhari administration scorned at the settlement agreement its predecessor signed with Process & Industrial Development Limited (P&ID), the engineering firm fighting Nigeria for breach of contract.

Official documents showed that a government negotiation team constituted by Mr. Jonathan successfully negotiated an out-of-tribunal settlement with P&ID and got the company to accept an $850 million payment, about 9.6 per cent of the $8.9billion award.

However, the present administration ignored that settlement and rather asked its lawyers to return to the tribunal to further contest the engineering firm’s claims.

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