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FG asks London court to cancel $11bn damages

Nigeria was the victim of a "campaign of bribery and deception" over a failed gas processing project, its lawyers told London's High Court on Monday, as the country began its appeal against a $11 billion damages bill.

According to Reuters, a London arbitration tribunal awarded Process & Industrial Developments, a little-known British Virgin Islands-based company, $6.6 billion in damages in 2017 for lost profits related to the failed project.

With interest, that has now grown to just over $11 billion, or roughly 30% of Nigeria's foreign exchange reserves.

The West African country claims that bribes paid to senior officials at its Ministry of Petroleum Resources resulted in the awarding of a 20-year contract to P&ID in 2010.


It also claims that when P&ID took Nigeria to arbitration for contract breach, P&ID bribed Nigeria's legal representatives, who then failed to adequately defend the case.

P&ID has denied paying bribes to obtain the contract and colluding with Nigeria's legal team during the arbitration in written submissions to the court, arguing that Nigeria breached the contract and it is entitled to enforce the tribunal's award.

Mark Howard, representing Nigeria, told London's High Court at the start of an eight-week trial that P&ID obtained its contract "by telling repeated lies and paying bribes to officials," and then "corrupted" Nigeria's lawyers to obtain confidential documents during the arbitration.

Howard added in court documents that P&ID paid bribes and relied on false evidence "to dupe (Nigeria), the tribunal and this court into giving P&ID an extraordinary amount of money on the back of a campaign of bribery, corruption and deception".

P&ID, on the other hand, claims that the gas processing agreement was "a genuine contract that P&ID genuinely wanted to perform."

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