Irish-backed company criticises ‘sham’ Nigerian criminal inquiry of gas deal

P&ID won $9.6bn UK court judgment against Nigerian government over failed gas deal

 Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari this week ordered the country’s financial police to investigate the circumstances of the original deal. Photograph:  Ben Curtis/AP

Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari this week ordered the country’s financial police to investigate the circumstances of the original deal. Photograph: Ben Curtis/AP

 

An Irish-backed company that has won a $9.6 billion (€8.7 billion) UK court judgment against the Nigerian government over a failed gas deal has alleged the African nation’s decision to launch a criminal investigation into the deal as a “sham”.

Process & Industrial Development (P&ID), an offshore company linked to Dublin-based Industrial Consultants (International), said the Nigerian investigation was meant as a “distraction”.

A UK court this month confirmed the huge arbitration award to P&ID after a 2010 deal to build an oil refinery in Calabar fell through. Nigeria is fighting the award, which theoretically gives P&ID the right to seize Nigerian assets abroad, in the US courts and it says it will also appeal in the UK.

This week, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari ordered the country’s financial police to investigate the circumstances of the original deal.

Divert

“The Buhari administration’s sham investigation is a crude attempt to divert attention from P&ID’s success in enforcing the arbitration award,” P&ID said in a statement sent to The Irish Times. “The Nigerian government’s false accusations have already been rejected by independent tribunals.”

In theory, P&ID has won the right to try to seize Nigerian state assets in the UK, but in practice, the company will seek a negotiated deal with the country.

“The onus now is on the Nigerian government to act in good faith, if they wish to find a solution . . . P&ID is focused on identifying Nigerian assets that can be seized to satisfy the debt and will begin as soon as possible.”

P&ID was set up by Irish businessmen Brendan Cahill and Mick Quinn. Mr Quinn, a former showbands manager, died in 2015 but Mr Cahill still fronts P&ID. About 25 per cent of the company has been acquired by US hedge fund manager, VR Capital.