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P&ID : Nigeria secures variation of $200m court order

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Nigeria has succeeded in securing variation of the UK court order from cash payment of 200 million dollars security to issuing bank guarantee of the same amount in respect of the P&ID arbitration claim.

Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, made this known in a statement issued by Dr Umar Gwandu, the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations of the Office of the Minister in Abuja on Thursday.

The minister said the Federal Government appealed against the payment of 200 million US dollars security component which was a condition for stay of execution of the judgment.

“The court granted the Federal Government’s request for variation of
terms of the order seeking to provide bank guarantee in place of direct deposit.

“Our application for variation of the order was allowed and we are as
a result not making cash deposit but posting a bank guarantee.

“We remain in control of our funds by the act of acceptance of the guarantee.

“The advantage of the variation in the judgment from direct deposit of cash to posting of bank guarantee is that the money and its control resides in the Federal Government as against if it were otherwise”.

He said the success recorded so far in relation to the 200 million dollar security
deposit is that it remains in our custody, and we are simply providing a document.

“It is only when our case does not succeed, which we do not anticipate, that the court can order the withdrawal of the amount as stated in the bank guarantee”.

While Nigeria is claiming victory in the variation of the court order, P&ID regarded the outcome as a victory of sort and a setback for the country.

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Chris Rogers, a spokesman of the company reporting two rulings on 25 November and 27 November by British courts, said the rulings were in favour of P&ID.

“On Monday 25 November the English Court of Appeal comprehensively rejected Nigeria’s application for permission to appeal part of the decision of Mr Justice Butcher, with the Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Flaux describing the main plank of Nigeria’s application as “totally without merit” and “hopeless”.

“Lord Justice Flaux also directed that the appeal on Grounds 2 to 6 should, so far as possible, be heard by the Court of Appeal before Easter 2020.

“On Wednesday 27 November the Nigerian Government provided a bank guarantee for the $200 million. This security was necessary to secure Nigeria’s stay of execution.

“These developments deal a significant blow to the Nigerian Government’s attempts to evade its legal responsibility to pay the Tribunal Award owed to P&ID.

“These two developments are major milestones for P&ID as it attempts to compel Nigeria to comply with its lawful obligations.

“The Court of Appeal has dismissed Nigeria’s application for additional permission to appeal in strident terms, with Lord Justice Flaux stating that Nigeria’s arguments were “totally without merit…hopeless… [and] had no realistic prospect of success”.

“Similarly, the Commercial Court rejected the attempts by the Buhari Administration to avoid the payment of $200 million in security, which was demanded by the Court as a condition of a stay of execution. As a result, Nigeria has provided a bank guarantee for $200 million, which will be released to P&ID if and when Nigeria’s appeal fails.

“P&ID expresses hope that the Buhari Administration will now accept the reality of the Arbitration Tribunal Award and the decisions of the English Court.

“The claims of fraud by the Buhari Administration are not credible, and impugn both the English Court and the Arbitration proceedings chaired by Lord Leonard Hoffman. The ‘evidence’ cited is based purely and exclusively on a government-sanctioned campaign of harassment, intimidation, illegal detentions, forced confessions and show trials.”

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