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FG wants the London court to reverse $11 billion in damages

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As the nation’s appeal against a $11 billion damages bill began, Nigeria’s attorneys told London’s High Court that the government had been the victim of “a campaign of bribery and fraud” regarding a failed gas processing project.

According to Reuters, Process & Industrial Developments, a small business based in the British Virgin Islands, was given $6.6 billion in damages by a London arbitration panel in 2017 for lost earnings resulting from the failed project.

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That amount, after interest, has increased to little over $11 billion, or almost 30% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves.

The West African country alleges that the 20-year contract awarded to P&ID in 2010 was procured by bribes paid to senior officials at its Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

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It also alleges that, when P&ID took Nigeria to arbitration for breaching the contract, P&ID bribed Nigeria’s legal representatives, who then did not properly defend the case.

P&ID contends that Nigeria broke the contract and is entitled to have the tribunal’s verdict enforced. P&ID has denied paying bribes to obtain the contract and that it conspired with Nigeria’s legal team throughout the arbitration in written submissions to the court.

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Nigeria’s attorney, Mark Howard, claimed at the beginning of an eight-week trial that P&ID secured its contract “by telling repeated lies and paying bribes to officials” and “corrupted” Nigeria’s attorneys to gain secret information during the arbitration.

A strategy of bribery, deceit, and deception was used by P&ID, Howard continued in court records, “to fool (Nigeria), the tribunal, and this court into granting P&ID an unusual sum of money.”

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The gas processing deal, according to P&ID, was “a legitimate contract which P&ID genuinely sought to perform,” they contend.

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