The Federal government of Nigeria, today complied with the order of a United Kingdom Court to deposit the sum of $200 million with it as a condition for hearing its appeal against the whopping $9.2 billion judgement debt against it, in favour of an Irish firm, Process and Industrial Development (P&ID).
The bank guarantee secures a stay on asset seizures of up to $9 billion related to a failed gas project.
The UK court had ordered Nigeria to pay $200 million to the court, while when it ordered a stay of execution of the judgment and granted its request for appeal in October.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, confirmed the deposit of the bond in a late-night statement on Thursday.
Malami, who described the development as a positive step for Nigeria to set aside the judgement, said that the decision to provide the bond emanated from the British court’s acceptance of a request from Nigeria for a variation of the September decision of the court.
The statement however made it clear the country “does not plan to forfeit the guaranteed sum to the High Court in UK.”
It said: “The Federal Republic of Nigeria today provided the English High Court with a bank guarantee as a security in compliance with the Court order.
“This variation in security, which was proposed by Nigeria as an alternative solution during a procedural hearing on 22nd November, has been accepted by the Court and P&ID. The deadline was extended by the Court to the 28th November.
“The provision of today’s security is a positive step forward for Nigeria to overturn the injustice of the US$9.6 billion award, which was a direct result of fraud and corruption.”
“Over the last few weeks, investigations have revealed a very serious fraud, bringing into question both the legitimacy of the GSPA (gas supply and processing agreement) and the subsequent award itself.
“As a result of these investigations, the Federation has recently expanded its legal team, which will now enable us to launch in full our challenge against the fraudulently procured agreement and award,” the minister explained.
Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID), a company based in the British Virgin Islands set up solely to build a gas processing plant in Nigeria, won a $6.6 billion arbitration award after the 2010 deal collapsed.
The award has been accruing interest since 2013 and is now worth more than $9 billion.