The federal government has said it uncovered new evidence of fraud in the Gas supply and process agreement entered with the Irish firm, Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) currently locked in legal battle in the United Kingdom.
The disclosure was made in a statement issued by theAttorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Media Assistance, Dr. Umar Gwandu.
In the statement dated December 6, Gwandu said, “The Federal Republic of Nigeria has today filed a new and substantive challenge in the English Courts in the ongoing fight against the vulture-fund-backed P&ID”.
The fresh suit, he noted was a major step forward in the government’s bid to overturn the injustice of the US$9.6 billion award.
“The filing challenges both the underlying arbitral award and its enforcement, and lodges a fresh appeal against the subsequent High Court judgment,” the statement said.
It added that, “Based on new evidence that has come to light in recent investigations, it is clear that the original contract was a sham commercial deal and designed to fail from the outset. The fraud was only recently discovered as a result of President Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts spearheaded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission”.
In the fresh suit Nigeria argues that the Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (GSPA) was procured on the basis of fraud and corruption, while the subsequent arbitral process was riddled with irregularities and deliberately concealed from the rest of the Government.
The statement described the filing as a significant step forward in the Federal Government fight to secure justice for the people of Nigeria.
The Federal Government has recently expanded its legal team, to include leading London law firm Mishcon de Reya and the team is led by Shaistah Akhtar, Partner, and Mark Howard QC of Brick Court Chambers.
“The expansion will enable the FGN to launch in full its investigations and challenges,” the statement added.
The Media aide said it was important to note that clear and concrete evidence of fraud and corruption were only recently discovered due to President Buhari’s increase efforts in the well-regarded anti-corruption war.
“The new administration’s efforts have brought to light the fraudulent nature of the P&ID contract. President Buhari has established several initiatives aimed at tackling corruption. This includes the Presidential Advisory Committee Against
Corruption and the Whistle Blowers Policy in 2016, as well as the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2017-2021 in 2017”, the statement added.