Nigeria has asked a London High Court to deliver judgement in its favour in a case against Process and Industrial Developments Company.
In the case marked CL-2019-000752, the Federal Government is seeking to overturn an arbitration award in favour of P&ID which has now accrued interest worth $11 billion.
The company claimed it entered into an agreement with Nigeria to build a gas processing plant in Calabar, Cross River State, but the deal collapsed because the Nigerian government did not fulfil its end of the bargain.
Nigeria’s lawyer, Mark Howard, told the court that P&ID obtained its contract “by telling repeated lies and paying bribes to officials.”
Howard said the company financially induced top Nigerian government officials including those who chaired the government technical committee that reviewed the gas plant contract and several others.
Furthermore, Howard said the founders of P&ID, Michael Quinn and Brendan Cahill, had a “track record of bribery” and were involved in corruption on an “industrial scale”.
“We see a picture of industrial-scale bribery and corruption. This was not some incidental, minor contract on the side. It was fundamental to P&ID’s way of doing business,” Howard said.
According to Howard, lawyers in the Nigerian team during the arbitration proceedings were also bribed.
He added that the firm had real-time access to Nigeria’s “privileged materials”, many of which were obtained through “back-channels”.
The government accused the firm of suppressing vital evidence, bribery, and perjury among others to win the arbitration.
The two lawyers who acted for P&ID in the arbitration proceedings, Trevor Burke and Seamus Andrew, were also accused of breaching their obligations to the court by ignoring evidence of their client’s corruption in pursuit of a promised “pot of gold.”
“As with the corrupted officials and legal advisors of FRN, so too was the integrity of Mr. Andrew and Mr. Burke compromised,” Howard submitted.
“They were offered life-changing sums of money, contingent upon success in the claim, which induced them to look past evidence of blatant corruption (most obviously in the form of the FRN privileged documents) in the hope of reaching their promised pots of gold. They did so at the expense of their professional obligations.”
Following this, Howard said Nigeria is “respectfully asking the court to deliver a judgement as soon as reasonably possible”.
However, P&ID maintained innocence and requested that the case be remitted to the original tribunal.
The Federal Government in its written closing submissions urged the court to dismiss the award.