…trial to last eight weeks

Nigeria has begun an attempt to overturn the $11 billion debt awarded in favour of Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).

In 2019, a British court gave P&ID the go-ahead to seize Nigerian assets worth $9 billion over a 2010 contract, the Cable News reports.

The company claimed it entered into an agreement with Nigeria to build a gas processing plant in Calabar, Cross River state; but that the deal collapsed because the Nigerian government did not fulfil its end of the bargain.

The award, which has been accruing interest since 2013, is now worth $11 billion.

At the proceedings in London’s high court on Monday, Mark Howard, Nigeria’s lawyer, told the court that P&ID obtained its contract “by telling repeated lies and paying bribes to officials”.

As a result, the lawyer also argued that P&ID “corrupted” Nigeria’s attorneys to obtain secret information during the arbitration.

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In his written submissions, Howard added that the company paid bribes and relied on false evidence “to dupe (Nigeria), the tribunal, and this court into giving P&ID an extraordinary amount of money on the back of a campaign of bribery, corruption and deception”.

However, P&ID has maintained innocence.

The company said the gas processing agreement was “a genuine contract which P&ID genuinely wanted to perform”.

In court records, David Wolfson, P&ID attorney, claimed that Nigeria’s arbitration defeat “had nothing to do with any corruption.”

Wolfson will make opening arguments on behalf of P&ID on Tuesday.

The trial, which started today, is expected to last for eight weeks.