$9.6bn fine: FG instructs counsel to appeal $200m security payment

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The federal government has directed its lawyers to seek the leave of the Court of Appeal to appeal the ruling of Justice Christopher Butcher of the Commercial Court in London that asked Nigeria to pay $200 million security payment into the court’s account while granting request to stay execution in the $9.6 billion award in favour of Process and Industrial Development Limited.

The minister of information and culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, disclosed this to reporters in Abuja on Wednesday.

Mohammed, who was part of the federal government’s delegation to London last week also said the government had a good chance of winning the appeal to set aside the entire award granted in favour of P&ID over a controversial 2010 gas processing and supply contract, which he described as a scam.

“On the $200m payment as a condition for the granting of the stay of execution, Nigeria has instructed its lawyers to seek the leave of the Court of Appeal to appeal against that payment,” he said.

It would be recalled that a United Kingdom court, had on September 26, granted the federal government leave to appeal against the enforcement of the judgment of a British Commercial Court which awarded P&ID $9.6 billion over a failed contract with Nigeria.

Justice Christopher Butcher of the Commercial Court in London granted the Nigerian government a stay of execution of the fine pending an appeal.

But he also gave the government 60 days to make a $200-million security payment — and 14 days to pay running costs whose sum was not disclosed in court.

It would also be recalled that a British Commercial Court had on August 16 awarded judgment in the sum of $9.6 billion against Nigeria over a failed contract between P&ID and the federal government.

The court had in that judgment given the P&ID leave to seize Nigeria’s foreign assets to the tune of $9.6 billion.

For its part, the federal government argued that the entire Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) signed between the ministry of petroleum resources and P&ID in 2010 was deliberately skewed to fail so as to benefit a syndicate that was out to extort Nigeria of its resources.

Nigerian government had insisted that it will explore all options to upturn the judgment.

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