A United Kingdom judge has ordered P&ID to make an interim payment of more than £1.5 million to Nigeria within 21 days to cover legal costs the country incurred as part of its successful application for the extension of time to challenge the arbitration award of $9.6 billion to the company.
The judge gave the order on Thursday when Nigeria appeared before it in a hearing held to decide procedural and costs issues relating to the FRN’s applications to challenge the arbitration award and to determine the short-term directions to trial. This latest order follows the major victory it secured on Friday last week when the court allowed the country to bring a fraud challenge against a $9.6 billion arbitration award obtained by vulture-fund-backed P&ID well outside the normal time limits.
“This is another crucial win for Nigeria in our ongoing fight against the vulture-fund-backed P&ID,” a spokesperson for the Attorney General of the Federation said in a statement announcing the latest development. “We are pleased that the English Courts have taken our fraud challenge seriously, and awarded us a substantial interim payment in respect of our successful application for an extension of time to challenge the award.”
With the order, Nigeria will now proceed to a full fraud trial, in its quest to avoid paying the arbitration award which is estimated to be one-third of the national budget. The Nigerian government considers the order a “significant blow” to P&ID as will help speed up the trial and halt what it says are attempts by the company to delay the process.