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Friday, September 30, 2022

Fresh Fraud Claims Against P&ID Ahead $11bn Trial Raised By Nigeria

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Nigeria has  levelled new demands of fraud against a little -known offshore company, the Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID), which previously won a 11 billion dollar referee award against the country, increasing the pressure in view of one of  largest London processes that takes place next year.
The Federal Government would have tried to demonstrate to the Court that P&ID did not make full disclosure to the Court in the first place during the case.
While trying to demonstrate to the Court that the contract was procured in a corrupt way, he would also urge the company in the eyes of the storm to answer the following questions:
” P&ID, or any individual or company associated with P&ID, has done, procured to be made by any other person or promised to make payments” to or on behalf of various Nigerian officials, including a Taiga lady, Mr. Tijani, Mr. Dikko, Mr. Rilwanu Lukman or Mr Ibrahim?
“P&ID struck with and/or communicated with E/or has entered into a corrupt agreement with and/or made payments to Shasore and/or any other person directly or indirectly involved in the defense of the FRN (including Mrs. Adelore And Mr. Oguine), before, during or after the arbitration, in order to influence the conduct of the defense of the FRN in the arbitration?
“In what circumstances the FRN involved Mr. Shasore (and / or his company) in relation to the arbitration? Did Mr. Shasore conduct the arbitration in a manner contrary to Nigeria’s interests and / or instructions, and if so, why? ”
“Did P&ID induce Ms. Taiga or any other Nigerian official to deviate from the terms of FGN’s Model Arbitration Clause in the Gas Purchase and Purchase Agreement (GSPA)?” according to the court.
An update on the legal battle also showed that the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) was successful in its bid with the London Supreme Court to obtain additional documentation in support of its efforts to quash the $ 11 billion arbitration award.
In the recent hearing, Mr. Judge Jacobs states that P&ID’s approach to disclosing WhatsApp and SMS messages has not been entirely satisfactory to date and as such it would be reasonable and proportionate for P&ID to disclose further information relating to private WhatsApp / SMS messages sent between figures. key associated with the company over a period of several years. The Nigerian government hoped that disclosure of the reports would further reveal the company’s questionable activities ahead of the Supreme Court trial that is expected to begin in January 2023.

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A spokesman for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “The Federal Republic of Nigeria remains committed to overturning the arbitration award of approximately $ 11 billion and leaves no stone unturned in its battle through the  courts. “This is another step in our long-standing effort to reveal who benefits from one of the biggest scams in the world. Today’s ruling will help us gain greater access to the messages sent among the prominent figures linked to P&ID, who it is vital in the initial phase of the trial in the Supreme Court which will begin in January 2023 ”.
However, a Bloomberg report yesterday said Nigeria will seek to lift the fine by showing that P&ID has secured a gas supply contract and subsequent arbitration victory through bribes and lies.
The federal government had tried to convince a United Kingdom (UK) Supreme Court that the alleged $ 9.6 billion contract, which had now generated additional interest from P&ID, for a 20-year deal to convert Nigeria’s gas reserves into electricity to convert, it was a scam from the start. .
Lawyers representing the Nigerian government told Sir Ross Cranston, head of the court, that P&ID knew from the start that there was no deal, noting that it was just a facade to rob the Nigerian people.
P&ID, founded by the late Michael Quinn and Brendan Cahill, lawyers told the court, had no intention of fulfilling any obligations relating to the alleged contract, which is why the company bribed Nigerian government officials at the time. The company had taken legal action against Nigeria for alleged breach of contract, with a panel of three arbitrators voting 2-1 to award P&ID the full amount of its $ 6.6 billion claim at the time. plus interest, the arbitrage value of which rose to approximately $ 9.6 billion.
In January 2010, Nigeria reportedly signed the gas treatment project, but two years later the company initiated arbitration proceedings for breach of contract.
In July 2015, a London court ruled in favor of the company and in January 2017 it issued the final prize of $ 6.6 billion, with an interest rate of seven percent, before and after the ruling.
Citing fraud, the federal government ordered an investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and requested a hearing in January to provide evidence that the so-called deal was a fraud.
The project first began under the then oil minister, Mr. Rilwanu Lukman, who died in 2014, whose Nigerian legal representative yesterday claimed to be the instigator of the alleged fraud.The federal government told the judge that Lukman and several government officials knew the agreement was a sham and stood to make financial gains.

A court awarded damages to the company in early 2017 after finding the government breached the original agreement.
P&ID did not respond to a request for comment, according to Bloomberg, but has repeatedly denied the allegations. She insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government concocted the allegations to circumvent its legal obligation to compensate the British Virgin Islands-registered company.
The potentially costly crisis for Nigeria dates back to a 2010 deal in which the government agreed to supply gas to a plant that P&ID wanted to build.
Buhari’s government now argues the project was a “sham” from the start, engineered by the company and corrupt officials to fabricate the successful arbitration claim served by a court more than five years ago. The government introduced the fraud allegations after a UK judge ruled in August 2019 that P&ID could enforce the price, which has increased with interest from an initial $ 6.6 billion.
Nigeria discovered late last year that P&ID was “in possession of numerous documents that may be privileged and confidential” for the government, it said in documents prepared for a hearing in London last month.
While the “full details” of how P&ID obtained the documents “remain veiled,” it has had to be “concluded” that they were provided to the company by a former legal director of the Department of Petroleum Resources and “other corrupt people” who took action. according to on behalf of the company, government, Nigeria affirmed.
Judge Cranston had authorized Nigeria to initiate a full trial and in September 2020 said the government had strongly argued that the contract had been “obtained with bribes” and that the arbitration was “tainted”.
There is “a possibility” that Olasupo Shasore, the state attorney during most of the arbitration, was “harmed,” he said.
According to Bloomberg, Shasore did not respond to a request for comment. P&ID dismissed Cranston’s claims last month in its skeletal argument, telling the court that Nigeria’s allegations are “clearly unsubstantiated”. The eight-week fraud trial will begin in January.
The Nigerian government “looks forward to the opportunity to present its case to the Supreme Court” and “is confident that justice will finally be served,” a spokesperson told Bloomberg via email.
An image of at least one of the privileged documents was provided to P&ID by Adetunji Adebayo, a Nigerian businessman active in the oil and gas sector, who in 2014 signed an agreement with the company instructing him to negotiate a possible agreement during the arbitration, according to the skeletal argument of the government.
Adebayo was entitled up to half of any payment in excess of $ 1 billion, the court document said.
The co-founder of the company, Brendan Cahill, assured the “silence” of one of his former employees who offered to testify in the trial in 2020 by entering into an agreement that “conditions P & ID’s success in requesting him” , Nigeria. claimed last month. Neither Adetunji nor Cahill responded to requests for comment.
After the last hearing in London, another London judge ordered P&ID to release additional information, including WhatsApp and text messages.

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