Trade Dispute: FG denies purported loss in UK court

Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 23 May 2019 | 521 times

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•Attorney General Abubakar Malami

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has cleared the air on the status of the Process and Industrial Development Ltd (P&ID) against the Federal Government, saying the proceedings are currently ongoing in the United States. He promised that the Federal Government will ensure that its interest and that of the people of Nigeria are vigorously defended.

Recall that there have been series of online publications over the on-going litigation between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Processes and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) pending before the United States District Court of the District of Columbia, the United States Courts of Appeals.

The assertions, widely circulating online, state that “if Nigeria fails to pay the judgment fine before February 15, 2019, P&ID can enforce the award against the country by seizing her assets in the United Kingdom.”

However, reacting to the rumors in the media and in order to set the record straight, Malami, while addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, claimed that the dispute that led to the arbitration between the government of Nigeria and P&ID arose before the advent of the current administration from a 20-year Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA), entered in 2010 by the Federal Government (through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources).

He added that “P&ID, in respect of an accelerated gas development project in Nigeria’s OMLs 67 and 123, never began the construction of the project facility although it alleged (that) it incurred about $40million in preliminary expenses.”

Malami therefore assured that the proceedings were currently on-going in the United States and that the Federal Government will ensure that its interest and that of the people of Nigeria were vigorously defended.

According to Malami, “Upon the award, P&ID commenced recognition and enforcement proceedings of the arbitration award against FGN in March 2018 in both the United Kingdom and the United States of America. In view of the huge arbitration award, the current administration took positive steps in challenging the award, thus, the FGN is duly represented in the proceedings in the United States and the UK by the foreign Law Firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP.

“P&ID on June 5, 2018 in the United States sought to obtain a clerk’s entry of default against FGN which was successfully set aside.

“Meanwhile, as proceedings were ongoing in the United States, P & ID simultaneously commenced recognition and enforcement proceedings of the Arbitral Award against FGN in the UK Commercial Court. The case came up for hearing on 21st May 2019 and has been further adjourned to 14th June 2019 at the instance of the UK Commercial Court due to ‘Judicial Availability’.”

While maintaining that the Federal Government is vigorously defending its interests in the United Kingdom, the Minister of Justice argued that it is entirely proper for Nigeria to raise and to strongly assert all available and proper defences to the claims brought by P&ID.

Malami however urged foreign friends and investors to ignore the malicious reports as the Federal Government is making concerted efforts through legal and diplomatic channels to resolve the issues in contention between the parties in this matter.

He lamented the rate at which false and unsubstantiated information in relation to the matter is currently being circulated, and called on the general public to be well guided and rest assured that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and foreign counsel are committed to effectively defend the interests of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the matter as always.

Source: News Express

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