Ikechukwu Nnochiri – Abuja
The Federal Government on Friday filed a fresh suit in the United Kingdom to challenge the judgement of a British Court that ordered the country to pay $9.6billion as damages to Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID).
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Gwandu, said the new suit was informed by fresh sets of evidence federal government uncovered in the course of its ongoing fight against “vulture-fund-backed P&ID.”
He maintained that the fresh suit was a major step in the bid to “overturn the injustice of the $9.6 billion award.”
The statement said: “The filing challenges both the underlying arbitral award and its enforcement, and lodges a fresh appeal against the subsequent high court judgment.”
“Based on new evidence that has come to light in recent investigations, it is clear that the original contract was a sham commercial deal and designed to fail from the outset. The fraud was only recently discovered as a result of President Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts spearheaded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.”
The AGF further disclosed that the federal government argued in the new suit that the Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) was procured on the basis of fraud and corruption, while the subsequent arbitral process was riddled with irregularities and deliberately concealed from the rest of the government.
“The filing is a significant step forward in the federal government fight to secure justice for the people of Nigeria. The federal government has recently expanded its legal team to include leading London law firm Mishcon de Reya. The team is led by Shaistah Akhtar, Partner, and Mark Howard QC of Brick Court Chambers.
“The expansion will enable the federal government to launch in full its investigations and challenges.
“It is important to note that clear and concrete evidence of fraud and corruption were only recently discovered. This followed an increase in the Buhari government’s well-regarded anti-corruption efforts.
“The new administration’s efforts have brought to light the fraudulent nature of the P&ID contract. President Buhari has established several initiatives aimed at tackling corruption. This includes the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption and the Whistle-Blowers Policy in 2016, as well as the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2017-2021, in 2017,” it added.
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