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Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Wednesday, refuted claims that the Federal Government failed to pay the judgment fine in a case between it and the Processes and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID).
He said there was no truth in the media reports that the Federal Government failed to pay the fine before February 15, P&ID could enforce the award against the country by seizing its assets in the United Kingdom.
The minister noted that in the first place, P&ID never incurred a debt of $40 million while executing the gas supply and processing agreement (GSPA) entered with Federal Government in 2010 in respect of an accelerated gas development project in Nigeria’s OMLs 67 and 123, adding, “P&ID never began the construction of the project facility although it alleges it incurred about $40m in preliminary expenses.”
In a press briefing, Wednesday, the AGF noted that there was so much misrepresentation in the media concerning the issue hence the need to put the record straight.
The minister said the Ministry would do everything possible to protect the interest of the country in the matter.
Malami stated: “My attention has been drawn to series of online publications grossly misrepresenting facts of the on-going litigation between Processes and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) vs Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) & Anor pending before the United States District Court of the District of Columbia (“District Court”), the United States Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia (“Court of Appeal”) and the Business and Property Courts of the United Kingdom (“Commercial Court”).
“Im reaction to these publications and in order to set the record straight, it has become very pertinent for me to present the true facts to the general public as follows:
“The dispute that led to the Arbitration between FGN and P & ID arose before the advent of this administration from a 20-year Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) entered in 2010 between FGN (through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources) and P & ID in respect of an accelerated gas development project in Nigeria’s OMLs 67 and 123. P&ID never began the construction of the project facility although it alleges it incurred about $40 Million in preliminary expenses.
“The Arbitral Tribunal on 31st January 2017 rendered its Final Award against the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in the sum of US$6.597 Billion together with pre-award interest at the rate of 7% per annum effective from 20th March 2013 and post award interest at the same rate till date of payment.
“Upon the Award, P&ID commenced recognition and enforcement proceedings of the arbitration award against FGN in March 2018 in both the United Kingdom (“UK”) and the United States of America (the “United States”). 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 the 5th June 2018 in the United States sought to obtain a clerk’s entry of default against FGN which was successfully set aside by the FGN. The proceedings therefore are currently on-going in the United States and the FGN will ensure that its interest and that of the people of Nigeria are vigorously defended.
“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.’
“Consequently, FGN is vigorously defending its interests in the United Kingdom. It is entirely proper for Nigeria to raise and to strongly assert all available and proper defences to the claims brought by P&ID.
“The foregoing facts are the true state of things, and contrary to the false assertions widely circulating online that “if Nigeria fails to pay the Judgment fine before February 15, P & ID can enforce the award against Nigeria by seizing its assets in the United Kingdom.
“It must be highlighted in light of the above that neither the US District Court or the UK Commercial Court has granted P&ID any enforcement orders against FGN as the proceedings are still ongoing with the interests of FGN being vigorously defended.
“We urge our 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.
“It is therefore unfortunate that false and unsubstantiated information in relation to the matter is currently being circulated. The general public should thus be well guided and rest assured that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and our foreign counsel are committed to effectively defending the interests of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the matter as always.”