The Federal Government has asked a London court to allow Nigeria more time to appeal the $9.6 billion arbitration award in the legal tussle between the country and P &ID (Process & Industrial Development Ltd) over the 2010 gas supply contract.
A report by Bloomberg, yesterday, indicated that Nigeria was seeking more time to pursue its accusations that the 2010 gas-supply deal with P &ID was a scam and designed to defraud the nation.
Last year, a British judge upheld the arbitration award P&ID won in 2017 but Nigeria has applied to U.S. courts seeking documents from 10 banks, including Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., in a bid to prove its corruption allegations against the P&ID.
Nigeria’s lawyer, Mark Howard, was quoted as saying at the opening of the two-day hearing: “It is very unusual in a fraud case to discover a single smoking gun. By its very nature, fraud is conducted in secret, which makes it hard to detect and justifies an extension.’’
Nigeria’s lawyers are seeking another hearing for the judge to decide whether misconduct has taken place and whether it justifies overturning the contract.
Evidence of P&ID’s “highly orchestrated scam” had only recently come to light, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, was also quoted as saying in a statement.
Nigeria’s lawyers say they have uncovered alleged bribes to government officials and their family members dating back to 2009.
“There is good reason to believe that ministers at the highest level were involved in a corrupt scheme to steal money from Nigeria,” Malami was quoted as having said, in earlier court filings.
Nigeria still has an opportunity for an appeal, irrespective of the outcome of the current efforts in the London court.