The Federal Government has paid £250,000 to Process and Industrial Developments Limited as ordered by Justice Christopher Butcher of the Commercial Court in London on Thursday, September 26, The PUNCH has learnt.
The money was ordered to be paid to P&ID as its running cost at the September 26 hearing of the London court.
The government, it was further learnt on Wednesday, appealed against the order of the same court which asked that a $200m security payment be made into its account within 60 days as a condition for a stay of execution of the $9.6bn judgment earlier given in favour of P&ID.
Justice Butcher had at the September 26 proceedings granted Nigeria leave to appeal against the $9.6bn awarded in favour of P&ID over an alleged breach of a gas supply contract tagged Gas Supply Processing Agreement.
In granting the leave, the court had ordered Nigeria to pay the £250,000 cost to P&ID within 14 days.
Our correspondent learnt that Nigeria was able to beat the 14-day ultimatum which elapsed on Thursday (today).
It was gathered that the payment was made through the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), confirmed the development to our correspondent in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
Malami said although the government had appealed the order to pay $200m into the court’s account and applied for stay of execution, it paid the £250,000 cost out of respect for the court.
The minister said, “You know that there are two sets of money involved. There is the $200m security payment and there is also the £250,000 cost.
“The $200m security payment has not been paid. We have appealed against the order and we have also applied for stay of execution of the order.
But we have paid the cost, which is £250,000, to P&ID. The Nigerian government paid that cost out of respect for the court.”
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had last Wednesday said the government had directed its lawyers to seek the leave of the Court of Appeal to appeal against the ruling of Justice Butcher.
Apart from the $200m, the minister said the government would be able to seek a refund of the £250,000 it was asked to pay to P&ID when the appeal succeeded.
Mohammed argued that contrary to claims by P&ID and “its cohorts”, the government delegation’s trip to London was a successful one.
Describing the delegation’s mission as a huge victory, the minister said the firm had every reason to be worried that the $9.6bn arbitration awarded to it could be overturned.
He said, “The Federal Government has a good chance of being successful in its impending appeal, otherwise the commercial court would not have allowed the appeal.
“Please note that Nigeria will be able to demand a refund of the £250,000 to P&ID when the government wins the appeal. This fact is being hidden by those who have been spinning the London judgment in their own favour.
“On the $200m payment as a condition for the granting of the stay of execution, Nigeria has instructed its lawyers to seek the leave of the Court of Appeal to appeal against that payment.
“Nigerians should be assured that the Federal Government is taking all necessary steps to strongly avail itself of all defences customarily afforded to sovereign states under the United Kingdom Sovereign Immunity Act to fight and upturn any enforcement of the award.
“In the words of Mr President at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York last week, we are giving notice to international criminal groups by the vigorous prosecution of the P&ID scam attempting to cheat Nigeria of billions of dollars.”
The $9.6bn award arose from a dispute concerning the 20-year GSPA between P&ID and Nigeria, through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
Under the agreement signed in 2010, P&ID was to build in the Niger Delta region a gas processing plant for the refining of natural gas, also known as “wet gas” into “lean gas” which would be used by Nigeria to generate electricity.
The two parties subsequently approached an arbitration tribunal in London which on January 31, 2017 issued a final award of $6.56bn damages with accumulated interests jacking up the worth of the award to US$9.6bn in favour of P&ID.
P&ID subsequently approached the London court to enforce the final award as a judgment or order of the court.