The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, has said that the victory secured by Nigeria in the Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Limited litigation should serve as a pointer to others who might be nursing or nurturing any plan to swindle the country.
The AGF also said that the victory in the United Kingdom court on Monday has vindicated the Nigerian government.
The country’s victory brings to an end the legal battle which has been ongoing since 2017 when Nigeria was ordered to pay $6.6bn to P&ID with interest starting from May 2013
Before the verdict, the interest fixed at seven percent ($1m daily) had accumulated to over $11bn.
The judgement by Justice Robin St John Knowles of the United Kingdom Commercial Court today, found that the award had been obtained by fraud and in a way which was contrary to public policy.
Reacting to the judgment in a statement today, the AGF said it is not just a victory for the people of Nigeria, but any similar target of corruption and fraud.
“The judgment handed down today, found that the award had been obtained by fraud and in a way which was contrary to public policy. In particular, the Judge concluded that P&ID obtained the award only by “practising the most severe abuses of the arbitral process”.
“He further noted ‘That this case has also, sadly, brought together a combination of examples of what some individuals would do for money. Driven by greed and prepared to use corruption; giving no thought to what their enrichment would mean in terms of harm to other.
“For us in this administration, it has been a night of long knives! This success marks the culmination of over a decade of legal action and is not just a victory for the people of Nigeria, but any similar target of corruption and fraud.
“In the words of Mark Howard KC, lead counsel for the FRN which the court endorsed, ‘P&ID was exactly the type of entity that was prepared to engage in bribery’, to achieve its aims – to undermine the administration of justice in Nigeria in the pursuit of, ‘riches beyond the dreams of avarice’.
“This successful result is a decisive victory for the people of Nigeria who stood to lose over US$11 billion, and for the Nigerian administration which has now reached a milestone in its mission to challenge the scourge of corruption. The judgment also serves as a damning indictment of predatory international investors, who should now rightfully be deterred from preying upon Nigeria and other developing nations to satisfy their greed.
“P&ID and its associates both Nigerians and foreigners alike, shamelessly attempted to defraud the country and enrich themselves through sharing the FRN’s privileged documents, fraud, bribery and corruption on an industrial scale. Those efforts, which took place over many years, have finally been uncovered for all to see.”
The Minister added that there will be further hearings by the UK court on the heels of this judgement to determine costs payable by P&ID and other matters.