Nigeria appeals $200m court payment for stay on asset seizures in P&ID case
Irish-founded company won a $6.6bn arbitration award after gas deal collapsed
The dispute with Nigeria relates to a failed 2010 deal to develop a gas-processing plant. Photograph: iStock
Nigeria has lodged an appeal against an order to pay $200 million (€181 million) to a British court for a stay on asset seizures while it challenges a ruling that would have allowed an Irish-founded company to try to seize more than $9 billion (€8.1 billion) in assets, its attorney general said.
Process & Industrial Developments, a private company set up to carry out a gas project with the West African country under a 2010 contract, won a $6.6 billion (€5.9 billion) arbitration award after the deal collapsed. The award has been accruing interest since 2013 and is now worth more than $9 billion.
In September, a British judge gave Nigeria permission to seek to overturn the ruling that had been in favour of P&ID, which was founded by Irish investors Michael Quinn, a Dublin businessman who used to manage Twink and Dickie Rock, and Brendan Cahill, a Dublin business consultant. Mr Quinn died in 2015.
The dispute with Nigeria relates to a failed 2010 deal to develop a gas-processing plant. Nigeria now alleges the contract was won corruptly and the project was never meant to succeed. P&ID denies any wrongdoing.
In exchange for granting Nigeria’s request for a stay on any asset seizures while its legal challenge was pending, the country was ordered to pay $200 million to the court within 60 days. The deadline is due to be reached next week.
“We have appealed against the payment,” attorney general Abubakar Malami said in the capital, Abuja, on Wednesday.
He did not say when the appeal had been lodged or what the response, if any, had been from the court.
Nigeria’s appeal of the ruling that allowed the British Virgin Islands-based company to seek assets, called a “set-aside”, would need to prove there was an error in that ruling.
Mr Malami also denied reports that Nigeria had sacked its team of lawyers.
“The lawyers are not sacked,” he said. The attorney general said new lawyers may be used since the focus of the case had shifted from appealing the ruling to proving that there had been an error.
But he said this did not mean the previous legal team would be replaced. “We may decide to bring on board new sets of lawyers to handle the new brief, but then we may decide that the old and new lawyers should work together,” he said.