UK court overturns $11 billion damages bill for collapsed gas deal against Nigeria

A court in the United Kingdom has ruled in favour of Nigeria and overturned an $11 billion damages bill involving the controversial Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) deal.

Reuters reports that the court agreed with Nigeria’s argument that the deal was for a collapsed gas processing contract, which was said to have been fraudulently procured through bribery.

In 2010, the P&ID was awarded a 20-year contract to construct and operate a gas processing plant in Southern Nigeria to exploit the country’s abundant gas reserves.

When the deal failed, the British Virgin Islands-based company dragged Nigeria to court in London in 2017 and was awarded $6.6 billion for profits losses.

Due to interest, the damages bill has increased to over $11 billion, which, according to the news outlet, represented around a third of Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves.

Counsel for Nigeria, however, insisted the country was a victim of “a campaign of bribery and deception” by P&ID, adding that the company paid bribes to Nigerian officials to win the contract and corrupted the country’s lawyers to obtain confidential documents during the arbitration.

The company denied the allegation of bribery and corruption against them and blamed the failure of the gas deal and the country’s arbitration defeat on institutional incompetence.

“I have not accepted all of Nigeria’s allegations,” Judge Robin Knowles said in the ruling on Monday, adding that the arbitration awards “were obtained by fraud and the awards were, and the way in which they were procured was, contrary to public policy.”

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