Jan. 25, 2023
Lawyers for a British Virgin Islands-based company that owed Nigeria $11 billion over the collapse of a gas processing project rejected on Tuesday Nigerian allegations that it bribed senior officials to secure a lucrative contract.
Nigeria is trying to overturn a Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) award of billions of dollars in damages that was awarded by a London arbitration tribunal in 2017.
The West African oil and gas-producing nation was found guilty in 2015 of breaching a 20-year gas processing contract awarded to P&ID.
Two years later, P&ID was awarded $6.6 billion for lost profits, a sum that has since ballooned with interest to just over $11 billion, representing about 30% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves.
An eight-week trial began Monday in London. The high-stakes case has generated considerable interest among Nigerians.
On Monday, Mark Howard, representing Nigeria, told the High Court in London that P&ID got its contract ‘by telling repeated lies and paying bribes to officials’ and then ‘bribed’ the lawyers Nigerians to obtain confidential documents in the arbitration.
P&ID denies paying bribes or colluding with Nigeria’s legal team.
Company lawyer David Wolfson told the court on Tuesday: “None of Nigeria’s allegations…provide a justifiable reason to set aside the award. There was no bribery or perjury. , nor corruption”.
He argued in court papers that challenging the arbitral award was “just part of (Nigeria’s) relentless and politically motivated campaign to destroy P&ID and anyone and everything associated with it.”