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Buhari, Not Jonathan To Be Blamed For $9bn Judgement Debt – Says P&ID


The attempt by President Muhammadu Buhari to to pin the $9billion
British court’s judgement debt on former President, Goodluck Jonathan,
has been dismissed by the Process and Industrial Developments Limited
(P&ID), the very Irish company, that is in the thick of the entire
saga.

P&ID in a clear statement, on Friday, completely
absolved the former President of culpability and blamed both Buhari and
the Attorney General, Abubakar Malami responsible for the development.

The
company, in attempt to set the record straight, P&ID, detailed how
the Buhari government, practically slept on the issue and accused Malami
particularly of trying to revise history and introduce allegations of
contract fraud.

Read the full statement:

Malami’s Revisionist History

It
is another day, and with it comes another attempt from the Nigerian
Government to create a fictional history of the P&ID case.

This
week’s series of desperate conspiracy theories point to something
deeper: the Buhari Administration is refusing to admit its own role in
the P&ID case from 2015-2019 after it came into office.

Appearing
on CNBC Africa, Attorney General Abubakar Malami sought to wipe his
hands and the hands of the Buhari Administration clean when he stated,
“[t]he government as a unit was delicately involved. And that was the
government in 2010, the award was in 2012, and then three years
thereafter the current administration under the leadership of Muhammadu
Buhari came into place. So the time when this administration came to
place in 2015, the award was over three years, there was no appeal, no
application for execution, no application to set the award aside.”

Attorney General Malami seems to have a case of amnesia.

Let’s set the record straight:

May
3, 2015: P&ID offers to settle the dispute with the Nigerian
Government for $850mm. President Goodluck Jonathan indicates they are
handing over the negotiations to the incoming Buhari Administration.

May 29, 2015: Muhammadu Buhari is sworn in as the 15th President of Nigeria, but fails to appoint a cabinet for five months.

July
17, 2015: The Arbitration Tribunal found in favor of P&ID (i.e. –
the Liability Award). The new Buhari Administration did not make any
attempts at settling or negotiating with P&ID, and did not make any
effort to challenge the decision.

November 11, 2015: Attorney General Malami was sworn in November 11, 2015, just under three months after the Liability Award.

May
27, 2016: The Arbitration Tribunal wrote to the Nigeria Government
confirming that: “As the parties will be aware from Procedural Order No
12, the Tribunal has decided that the seat of the arbitration is
England. It follows that the Federal Court of Nigeria had no
jurisdiction to set aside its Award.” Neither Attorney General Malami,
nor any representative of the Buhari Administration did anything in
response other than continue with the proceedings, thereby tacitly
accepting the analysis of the Arbitration Tribunal.

June 24,
2016: Having failed to set aside the Liability Award by falsely claiming
the seat of arbitration was in Nigeria; not England, Attorney General
Malami wrote personally to the arbitrators to say “my office has taken
over the handling of the above arbitration on behalf of the Ministry of
Petroleum Resources.” He asked for and obtained an extension of time to
file a defence to quantum, and appointed his own legal team in place of
the Ministry of Petroleum Resource’s legal team.

August 30-31,
2016: The Quantum Hearing (i.e. – amount of damages payable) takes place
in London. Attorney General Malami’s legal team conducted Nigeria’s
defence at the quantum hearing. Expert witnesses as to quantum were
called to give evidence and were cross-examined.
After the Quantum
Hearing, Attorney General Malami instructed his lawyers to request a
standstill agreement, which would take effect from the date of the
Award.

This fact has never been publicly reported until today.

January
31, 2017: The Arbitral Tribunal issued a final award, ordering Nigeria
to pay P&ID $6.5 billion plus $2.3 billion in uncollected interest
as of March 2018.

February 17, 2017: The Award on Quantum was
delivered to the parties on February 17, 2017. Despite the 60-day
standstill having been agreed by P&ID, Attorney General Malami made
no attempt to negotiate with P&ID during the 60 days following the
handing down of the Quantum Award.

April 28, 2017: After the 60
days had expired, Attorney General Malami instructed his lawyers to
write to P&ID’s lawyers and explained that “The delay was occasioned
by the bureaucracy of the Federal Government in a bid to determine a
reasonable strategy after receipt of the Arbitral award.” The Attorney
General’s lawyers added: “we now have the authority of the Vice
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to meet with the Claimant
to negotiate the Terms of the Arbitral award.”

Today: In the lead
up to the judgment by the English Commercial Court, Attorney General
Malami allowed the time for acknowledging service in both the United
States and London to lapse without filing any response. In both
jurisdictions, Nigeria’s lawyers Curtis Mallet had to apply for ex post
facto extensions of time and make the necessary apologies and
explanations to the court.

In London, a senior Curtis Mallet
partner explained that the Claim Form was “immediately filed and not
passed up the chain of command” at the Ministry of Justice. The partner
pleaded that “the delay was neither deliberate nor intended to be
disrespectful to the Court.”

In the US, Curtis Mallet explained
that the deadline was missed because they were in the process of being
formally retained by the Nigerian Government and had been instructed to
enquire about the potential for a settlement

The Attorney
General’s pronouncements in the Nigerian press are a clear attempt to
cover up his own incompetence and that of the Buhari Administration.
This is a matter, which could have been settled shortly after he took
office in November 2015 for $850 million. Instead, he personally took
the decision to gamble on the arbitration and turned an $850 million
liability into a $9.6 billion liability.

And at no time since has
Attorney General Malami assumed responsibility has he raised any
allegation of fraud or scam, either in the arbitration or in the
subsequent enforcement proceedings. The reason for this is that there
was no fraud. All of this raises serious concerns for foreign investors
in Nigeria, whether you are investing in a commercial enterprise or
buying Eurobonds. Not only will Nigeria deliberately refuse to pay an
international arbitration award backed by an English Court, but they are
prepared to launch sham investigations and character assassinations
when all else fails.

This is a serious assault on the Rule of Law by a demonstrably dishonest administration.

Meanwhile,
P&ID is now focused on vigorously enforcing its legal rights in the
UK, including seizing Nigerian assets to satisfy the award. This will
begin as soon as possible.

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Last Updated: August 31, 2019

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