$9 billion UK judgement: Malami, Sylvia to face 17-man panel

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylvia have been mandated by the House of Representatives to face a 17-man Adhoc panel to answer questions concerning the award of the P&ID contract, which made the country to be fined $9.6 billion by a British court.

The decision was reached by the lawmakers after they deliberated on the Uk judgment and approached as a matter of urgent national importance. The motion was moved by Prof. Julius Ihonvbere.

The details: The panel, which will be headed by Katsina State All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker, Sada Soli, will mandate both Minsters to give a report on the following:

  • the huge cost awarded in favour of Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Limited;
  • explain the lapse in judgment of time;
  • account for lack of due diligence in the handling of the case; and
  • find lasting solutions to the avalanche of extant and future cases.

The Ministers are not the only ones in this imbroglio: Other officials of the ministries, saddled with the responsibility of negotiating the agreement with P&ID and the resolve the matter before the tribunal will also be invited, Nairametricsgathered. 

What you should know: The lawmakers are unhappy with the decision which has been termed as embarrassing, leaving a sour taste in the mouth. The devasting effect that beclouds Nigeria with a foreign reserve of less than $43 billion and a sovereign debt profile of over $80 billion could be dire.

Ihonvbere, who expressedhis disaffection over the judgement, said P&ID’s decision to slam a $9.6 billion court judgement was opportunistic and grossly self-serving since the company failed to provide Nigeria with a gas plant. 

He admitted that Nigeria was also at fault for failing to allow for a peaceable settlement with the Irish firm. According to him, the country chose to seek soft landing with a local court in Lagos, Nigeria instead of storming the US court with robust arguments

The task of the committee: The new panel will mete out appropriate sanctions to all parties found guilty in managing the matter in line with Order 14 of the Standing Orders of the House without fear and favourAlso, the committee has been tasked to review all agreements and treaties signed by Nigeria through the appropriate committees going forward to avoid a reoccurrence in the future

The backstory: In 2010, Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) signed a contract with the Federal Government under the administration of President Dr Goodluck Jonathan to supply gas to a processing plant in Calabar. 

Specifically, the deal was supposed to span 20 years. However, the Nigerian government failed to keep its side of the agreement, prompting the firm to seek legal action against Nigeria.

In 2013, P&ID reportedly won a $6.6 billion arbitration case against Nigeria. The figure was calculated based on what the company was estimated to earn over the course of the 20 years agreement. However, with the accumulated interest payments, the sum now tops $9 billion, which amounts to 20% of Nigeria’s foreign reserves.    

Recently, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami during a press briefing on Television Continental (TVC) described the P&ID contract as a scam designed to inflict economic and financial loss on Nigeria.

Source: Nairametrics

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