$9.6bn: Stop Sham Probe, Appoint Negotiator – P&ID Tells FG

P&ID rejected assets, demanded cash, says report
Lekan Adetayo and Ade Adesomoju

The Process and Industrial Developments, on Sunday, expressed its readiness to negotiate with Nigeria over the $9.6bn judgment of a United Kingdom court that may authorise the company to seize the nation’s assets to offset the judgment debt.

The company, however, advised the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to “appoint an authorised party to enter into real negotiations” instead of what it called the Nigeria’s “baseless slander and sham investigations against the P&ID and its founders”

The Process and Industrial Developments, on Sunday, expressed its readiness to negotiate with Nigeria over the $9.6bn judgment of a United Kingdom court that may authorise the company to seize the nation’s assets to offset the judgment debt.

The company, however, advised the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to “appoint an authorised party to enter into real negotiations” instead of what it called the Nigeria’s “baseless slander and sham investigations against the P&ID and its founders.”

This was contained in a reply to The PUNCH’s enquiry about the company’s attitude towards the Federal Government’s offer to negotiate with the P&ID over the judgment.

The PUNCH’s enquiry was sent to the P&ID’s lead counsel, Ian Mill, a Queen’s Counsel, of the UK-based Blackstone Chambers, on Friday.

The PUNCH’s mail was replied on behalf of Mill on Sunday, by an Assistant Director at the UK-based public relations firm, iNHouse Communications, advising Nigeria to accept the reality of the ruling of the arbitration panel and the UK court’s judgment and desist from its “campaign of baseless slander.”

The reply quoting, “a spokesperson for the P&ID,” read in part, “If the Nigerian government is serious about a willingness to negotiate, then it must do so in good faith.

“This means that the Buhari administration must acknowledge the reality of the rulings of the independent tribunal and the English Commercial Court, desist from its campaign of baseless slander and sham investigations against the P&ID and its founders, and instead appoint an authorised party to enter into real negotiations.”

We’re ready to negotiate with P&ID –Minister

However, the Federal Government had, through its officials, directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the National Intelligence Agency and the police to launch a wide-ranging investigations into the activities of the P&ID, their promoters, and the contract leading to the UK judgment among others.

On August 29, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who spoke on Good Morning Nigeria, a live breakfast programme of the Nigerian Television Authority, said government was willing to meet with the P&ID to come up with a “reasonable” agreement.

Mohammed said, “We are even willing to sit down with the P&ID and negotiate. We are ready to take this matter to the highest level — legal, diplomatic and otherwise — because we think it is just unfair and unconscionable. You don’t inflict this kind of injury on a country and its people for your selfish reasons.

“The government is doing everything possible to get self-execution and to set aside this award. But at the end of the day, we need to sit down with the P&ID and arrive at something that we think is reasonable for all the parties.”

P&ID rejected assets, demanded cash, says report

Meanwhile, the Federal Government had in 2018 negotiated and offered to pay $250m in the form of settlement to the P&ID to put to rest a controversial judgment that was slammed on Nigeria by a United Kingdom court that the firm should seize $9.6bn in Nigerian assets.

This was contained in a document sighted by one of our correspondents.

The document titled, ‘Summary of facts on the P&ID,’ and dated August 29, 2019, which one our correspondents sighted on Sunday, showed that some Federal Government officials and its counsel, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), had on May 16, 2017, met with the representatives of the firm and its counsel to negotiate the award.
However, by the time the ministry forwarded its comments to the P&ID, they were rejected on the grounds that what was agreed on for execution was a Draft Stay of Enforcement Agreement and not a Settlement Agreement as proposed by the Federal Government.

The document indicated that at another negotiation meeting held on July 13, 2018, with the firm’s counsel, Messrs Kobre & Kim LLP, the P&ID’s position was that litigation efforts to enforce the award in the US had been subjected to third party funding and that the settlement proposals by the Nigerian government would then need to be significantly higher than the settlement sum proposed in May 2017 by the Federal Government at the settlement meetings in London.



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