$9.6bn judgment: FG team in four-hour talks with lawyers

The Federal Government team in London on Sunday held a marathon meeting with Nigerian and foreign lawyers as part of a broader effort to secure a judgment overruling the verdict of a United Kingdom court asking Process and Industrial Developments Limited to seize $9.6bn in Nigerian assets.

The meeting, which lasted for about four hours, was held inside the Nigerian High Commission in London.

The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), who is the leader of the delegation, disclosed this in a telephone interview with reporters on Monday while giving an update on their mission in the UK.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; and the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, are part of the delegation.

Malami said the government took briefings from both the Nigerian and foreign lawyers towards “developing strategies targeted at setting aside the ($9.6bn) award.”

He however did not give details of the decisions reached.

He said, “It is simply that we held a meeting with both Nigerian and international legal teams at the High Commission in London.

“At the meeting, we took briefings from the teams in Nigeria and the UK for the purpose of developing strategies targeted at setting aside the award.

“The meeting started at about 6pm and ended at about 11pm on Sunday.

“We had a series of engagements with Reuters and Financial Times and others today (Monday), where we elaborated on the antecedence relating to the contract and entertained questions from the media.”

Malami on Sunday said the Federal Government was considering all options in its efforts to ensure that the earlier judgment was nullified.

The minister said this while answering questions on whether the government would be filing a new case based on the latest developments, especially the conviction it secured against the firm in Abuja on Thursday, or would build on the previous judgment.

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He said, “All our cards are on the table, but it all depends on the one that has the potency of setting aside the award regarding the applicable law in the circumstances.”

Meanwhile, a civil society group, Kingdom Human Rights Foundation International, on Monday filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja challenging the 2010 Gas Supply Processing Agreement which led to the $9.6bn judgment delivered against Nigeria by a British court.

The suit came days ahead of the Thursday’s proceedings of the UK court where Nigeria’s legal team would appear to challenge the controversial verdict.

The group alleged in the suit that, the agreement between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Process and P&ID was fraudulent, illegal, “and was conceived, signed and executed in complicated falsehood and misrepresentation and in total breach of the procurement law”.

The plaintiff, through its lawyer, Kingdom Okere, also alleged that “the contract was designed to fail, and therefore constitutes an act of economic sabotage against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the people of Nigeria”.

The case had yet to be assigned to a judge and the respondents had yet to respond to the suit as of the time of filing this report on Monday. Punch

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