US court has no $6.5 billion default judgment against Nigeria — AGF

Posted by Wandoo Sombo | 3 July 2018 | 1,557 times

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•AGF Abubakar Malami

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, (SAN) has said that there is no default judgment against Nigeria at the instance of Process and Industrial Development (P&ID).

Malami, who said this on Tuesday in Abuja at a news briefing, urged Nigeria’s foreign friends and investors to ignore any such malicious report.

“The attention of the ministry has been drawn to false media reports being peddled in the media space to the effect that a United States District Court has entered a default judgement against Nigeria.

“The judgment is affirming a 6.59 billion dollar arbitral award in favour of P&ID against the Federal Government in a foreign enforcement proceeding on the alleged ground that the Federal Government failed to enter a defence in the matter.

“The ministry wishes to state categorically that no default judgment was entered against Nigeria in the enforcement proceedings by P & ID.

“The Federal Government through its foreign solicitors, Messrs. Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, has commenced the process of challenging and defending the enforcement proceedings.”

Malami said that what was being taunted as a default judgment was actually a default entry made by the court clerk.

“Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), a defendant has up to 60 days period to answer to a petition filed against it.

“Where no response is entered for the defendant, the court clerk upon application by the petitioner makes a default entry, which in this case was made on June 5.

“It is to be noted that under the FSIA, a default judgment cannot be entered against a foreign state like Nigeria unless the presiding judge determines so after the petitioner/claimant must have established its entitlement to a default judgment.”

He noted that on June 12, Nigeria’s foreign solicitors filed the necessary application to set aside the clerk’s default entry.

He further said the application filed, was also to dismiss the entire case on grounds of defective service and lack of personal jurisdiction over Nigeria in line with the provisions of the FSIA.

He added that the Federal Government was making concerted efforts through legal and diplomatic channels to resolve the issues in contention between the parties in the matter. (NAN)

Source: News Express

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