By our reporter|Nigeria on Thursday got a reprieve in its pursuit to overturn a $10 billion judgement awarded against it in a case against Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).
A judge of the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, Ross Cranston granted Nigeria’s application for an extension of time and relief from sanctions.
“The delay, in this case, is extraordinary and weighs heavily on the side of the balance against an extension. In my view, however, other factors bring it down in favour of an extension,” the judgment read in part.
“As I have explained, the delay is not in my view the result of a deliberate decision made because of some perceived advantage, and in all the circumstances Nigeria has acted reasonably.”
The judge added: “Given the strong prima facie case of fraud which I have concluded Nigeria has established, the position is along the lines of that identified in Terna, where Popplewell J identified the substantial injustice an applicant would suffer in respect of the underlying dispute if deprived of the opportunity of making a challenge should an extension of time be refused: Terna Bahrain Holding Company WLL v Bin Kamil Al Shamsi  EWHC 3283 (Comm),  1 Lloyd’s Rep 86, .
“For the reasons I have given, P&ID has contributed to the delay, and it will not by reason of the delay suffer irremediable prejudice in addition to the mere loss of time if the application is permitted to proceed. Although not a primary factor, fairness in the broadest sense favours an extension in this case. Conclusion.
“For the reasons given, I grant Nigeria’s applications for an extension of time and relief from sanctions.”
On January 31, 2017, a tribunal had ruled that Nigeria should pay P&ID $6.6 billion as damages, as well as pre- and post-judgment interest at 7 per cent.
The Federal Government had approached the court to establish that the contract was awarded on illegal terms.
Nigeria has been making moves to overturn the judgement and has gotten court clearance to request documents from a P&ID stakeholder and review bank statements of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, as well as that of former petroleum ministers, Diezani Alison-Madueke and Rilwanu Lukman.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on August 18, arraigned James Nolan, a Briton, and six companies over their alleged involvement in the contract.