The Federal Government is not considering raising the $200m security payment that Justice Christopher Butcher of the Commercial Court in London ordered it to pay into the court’s account in respect of an appeal against the $9.6bn arbitral award in favour of Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID Ltd).
The government is looking beyond the money which is the condition attached to the stay of execution of the award.
Specifically, it is considering other legal options available besides paying the money.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), disclosed these in an interview on Friday.
The court on Thursday granted Nigeria’s request to stay of execution of the enforcement of the $9.6bn award pending the Federal Government’s appeal.
Granting the stay conditionally, the judge ordered Nigeria to make a $200m security payment into its account within 60 days.
The court also granted Nigeria’s request for leave to file the appeal in respect of the $9.6bn arbitral award.
When asked how how the government intended to raise the money and if it would be looking towards withdrawing it from the Excess Crude Account, Malami said paying the money was not an exclusive option opened to the government.
He said the Federal Government was studying Thursday ruling.
The plan, Malami added, was to look at other options the government could exploit.
“Raising the $200m is not an exclusive option at our disposal.
“We are studying the ruling and analysing all other available legal and judicial options open to exploit,” the minister explained.
AFP reported Justice Butcher also gave Nigeria 60 days to make the security payment available – and 14 days to pay running costs which sum was not disclosed in court.
But P&ID, in a statement e-mailed Saturday PUNCH, following enquiries from the firm at the end of the Thursday’s proceedings, said the running costs which government must pay to them within 14 days before they could file the appeal amounted to $250,000.
Justice Butcher said P&ID had the right to seize Nigerian assets should either of the deadlines be missed.
The judge based his decision on the “real risk” that Nigeria’s “assets will not be returned in the event that the appeal is successful and would be lost to the government and to the people of Nigeria.”
He added that there was the “risk of immediate, serious and potentially irreparable damage” should P&ID use “third-party agents” to monetise and stash away the assets seized pending an appeal.
Justice Butcher further ruled “that there may be immediate and potentially severe damage to Nigeria if there is no stay.”
The British court in August delivered a judgment recognising Nigeria’s liability to pay P&ID $9.6bn for breach of the controversial GSPA.
The parties in the case returned to the court on Thursday with Nigeria obtaining the leave of the court to appeal against the judgment and an order of conditional stay of execution of the judgment subject to the Federal Government’s payment of $200m into the court’s account within 60 days.
Meanwhile, P&ID has knocked the Federal Government over the moves by the Economic and Financial Crimes to extradite top officials of the company from Britain to Nigeria for trial.
The acting Chairman, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, said the anti-corruption agency had officially asked the UK Crime Agency and its Irish counterpart to extradite the son of P&ID’s founder, Adam Quinn, and co-founder, Brendan Cahill, to Nigeria for trial over their roles in the controversial $9.6bn award.
But the UK firm insisted on Friday that the moves were meant to distract the firm from pursuing the $200m ruling.
In a statement to enquiries by Saturday PUNCH, P&ID said with regards to suggestions of a bid to extradite Cahill Quinn, it described it as “a desperate move to distract focus from today’s ruling requiring Nigeria to pay $200m to stave off the immediate seizure of assets.”
On the US court proceedings, P&ID said, “We’ll keep you apprised on the US case as things develop.” – Punch.