By Shola Abayomi.
A UK firm, Process and Industrial Developments, P&ID, has warned the Federal Government to desist from what it described as “baseless slander and sham investigations against the P&ID and its founders”, and appoint an authorised party to enter into real negotiations over the $9.6bn judgement debt imposed on Nigeria by a UK court.
The company threatened to continue its efforts to identify and seize Nigerian assets to satisfy the debt, while reviewing the Federal Government’s seriousness to commence negotiations.
The P&ID, in a statement issued on behalf of its lead counsel, Ian Mill, said: “If the Nigerian government is serious about a willingness to negotiate, then it must do so in good faith.
“This means that the Buhari administration must acknowledge the reality of the rulings of the independent tribunal and the English Commercial Court, desist from its campaign of baseless slander and sham investigations against the P&ID and its founders, and instead appoint an authorised party to enter into real negotiations.”
The statement added that, “The coming days will tell if the Nigerian government is serious, or if this is simply another delaying tactic.
“In the meantime, the P&ID will continue its efforts to identify and seize Nigerian assets to satisfy the debt.”
INSIDER had earlier reported that in 2010, the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and a foreign firm, Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) entered into a Gas Supply Processing Agreement to last for 20 years, even though there is no record that the company performed any project anywhere in the country in pursuit of the contract.
The contract reportedly fell through, and the case went to arbitration with P&ID seeking compensatory damages for the loss of profit for the 20-year term of the Gas Supply Processing Agreement.
The Arbitration Tribunal ruled that Nigeria had breached the contract. Consequent upon that, the Tribunal, on January 31, 2017, rendered its final award against the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in the sum of $6.597billion, together with pre-award interest at the rate of 7% per annum, effective from March 20, 2013 and post-award interest at the same rate from the date of the award.
This interest increased the size of the award to $9.6 billion which was made known last week by the UK court.
The Federal Government, has however set up an investigation panel led by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to probe the entire process leading to the award and the failure of the contract.
Nonetheless, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who spoke last Thursday, hinted that the Federal Government was willing to meet with the P&ID to come up with a “reasonable” agreement.
He said: “We are even willing to sit down with the P&ID and negotiate. We are ready to take this matter to the highest level — legal, diplomatic and otherwise — because we think it is just unfair and unconscionable. You don’t inflict this kind of injury on a country and its people for your selfish reasons.
“The government is doing everything possible to get self-execution and to set aside this award. But at the end of the day, we need to sit down with the P&ID and arrive at something that we think is reasonable for all the parties.”