Buhari Administration Guarantees $200 million; Court of Appeal Rejects Nigeria’s Challenge
The pressure builds on Nigeria this week, as two separate legal developments in the English Courts have been decided in favour of P&ID. These developments deal a significant blow to the Nigerian Government’s attempts to evade its legal responsibility to pay the Tribunal Award owed to P&ID. In response, the following statement can be attributed to P&ID:
“These two developments are major milestones for P&ID as it attempts to compel Nigeria to comply with its lawful obligations.
“The Court of Appeal has dismissed Nigeria’s application for additional permission to appeal in strident terms, with Lord Justice Flaux stating that Nigeria’s arguments were “totally without merit…hopeless… [and] had no realistic prospect of success”.
“Similarly, the Commercial Court rejected the attempts by the Buhari Administration to avoid the payment of $200 million in security, which was demanded by the Court as a condition of a stay of execution. As a result, Nigeria has provided a bank guarantee for $200 million, which will be released to P&ID if and when Nigeria’s appeal fails.
“P&ID expresses hope that the Buhari Administration will now accept the reality of the Arbitration Tribunal Award and the decisions of the English Court.
“The claims of fraud by the Buhari Administration are not credible, and impugn both the English Court and the Arbitration proceedings chaired by Lord Leonard Hoffman. The ‘evidence’ cited is based purely and exclusively on a government-sanctioned campaign of harassment, intimidation, illegal detentions, forced confessions and show trials.”
Background on English Court Rulings
- On Monday 25 November the English Court of Appeal comprehensively rejected Nigeria’s application for permission to appeal part of the decision of Mr Justice Butcher, with the Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Flaux describing the main plank of Nigeria’s application as “totally without merit” and “hopeless”.
Lord Justice Flaux also directed that the appeal on Grounds 2 to 6 should, so far as possible, be heard by the Court of Appeal before Easter 2020.
- On Wednesday 27 November the Nigerian Government provided a bank guarantee for the $200 million. This security was necessary to secure Nigeria’s stay of execution.
The Facts AG Malami Doesn’t Want You to Know
AG Malami claims “a substantial fraud has been uncovered” that “impugns the arbitration agreement, the arbitration proceedings and the very awards on which [P&ID] relies.” He continues noting that “the context of this application is the recent discovery of evidence, obtained by the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that the GSPA and arbitral awards were procured by bribery and corruption.” Moreover, AG Malami claims the GSPA is a “suspect contract” and impugns the character of Messrs Quinn and Cahill before the court by claiming they have been involved in “collusion, corruption, embezzlement, fraud, bid rigging and the conduct of sham litigation.”
Let’s be clear: The Nigerian Government at the direction of AG Malami launched a sham investigation by the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a desperate attempt to manufacture evidence in order to evade the judgments of the Arbitration Panel and the English Commercial Court, and thumb its nose at its international legal responsibilities. The so-called “evidence” presented by AG Malami to the English Court in his personal Witness Statement is derived from:
- Illegally interrogating Justice Alfa Belgore, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, who provided expert evidence to the arbitral tribunal on issues of Nigerian law in the original P&ID-Nigeria arbitration, and also detaining his assistant for six nights;
- Illegally interrogating and detaining Nigerian lawyers for P&ID, including the illegal seizure of P&ID attorney-client files related to the arbitration case;
- Illegally detaining Mohammad Kuchazi and Adamu Usman, who many years ago did some low-level work for P&ID, coercing them into cooperating with the EFCC’s sham investigation, making false representations and entering guilty pleas on behalf of P&ID. Notably, neither of them was ever a representative of P&ID (BVI) despite claims by the Nigerian Government;
- Illegally detaining an Irish citizen, Jim Nolan, and threatening him with charges of industrial espionage, only offering to release him upon signing a false confession implicating P&ID (which he has refused to do), and denying him access to legal counsel. Mr Nolan’s only link to the case is his long-time association with Mick Quinn (P&ID’s late co-founder);
- A sham trial in which a Nigerian court convicted P&ID in absentia and purported to forfeit all of its assets based on the forced confessions and pleas of two individuals who have no authority to enter a plea on P&ID’s behalf. P&ID received no notification or communication from the Court or the Government, was presented with no charges and no evidence, and was given no right of response or defence. Nigeria claims it also made a request to INTERPOL to have Brendan Cahill (co-founder of P&ID) and Adam Quinn (son of Mick Quinn) arrested and deported to Nigeria; and
- Illegally detaining Grace Taiga, a 70-year old in ill health, grandmother and retired Nigerian civil servant who served in the Nigerian Ministry of Petroleum Resources at the time the GSPA contract was signed. In late September, and as part of the EFCC investigation, the Nigerian Government charged her with receiving bribes, which she denies. Grace was illegally detained for 2 weeks, in violation of Nigeria’s constitution, before these charges were laid. During this time, the EFCC denied her access to essential medical care, withheld her access to legal representation and bullied and threatened her, and members of her family. Grace has been subjected to unannounced visits in hospital by senior members of the Government, pressuring her to plead guilty and implicate P&ID.
Nigeria’s Attorney General Abubakar Malami has publicly acknowledged that his aim is to provoke global opposition against P&ID.
This strategy is doomed to fail, because the EFCC’s concocted evidence and forced confessions will never pass muster before the English Court. Again, it is hoped that Nigeria will abandon these hopeless allegations of fraud and corruption, and face the reality of the situation.