After over five years of legal fireworks, Nigeria has finally succeeded in halting the enforcement of the $11 billion arbitration award in favour of P&ID.
In a judgment delivered by email, Robin Knowles, justice of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales, upheld Nigeria’s prayer on the ground that the award was obtained by fraud.
Having accepted Nigeria’s argument, Knowles will now have to choose from three options: to return the award to the tribunal, in whole or in part, for reconsideration; to set the award aside in whole or in part; or to declare the award to be of no effect, in whole or in part.
He has asked the parties to make their arguments on the next line of action at a date to be arranged.
TheCable had reported on Saturday that the much-awaited judgment would be delivered on Monday.
A private arbitration tribunal had on January 31, 2017, ordered Nigeria to pay $6.6 billion to P&ID plus interest beginning from March 20, 2013.
With the interest rate fixed at seven percent amounting to $1 million a day, the potential payment had accumulated to over $11 billion before the verdict.
‘AWARDS OBTAINED BY FRAUD’
In making his determination, Knowles said: “In the circumstances and for the reasons I have sought to describe and explain, Nigeria succeeds on its challenge under section 68. I have not accepted all of Nigeria’s allegations. But the Awards were obtained by fraud, and the Awards were, and the way in which they were procured was contrary to public policy.
“What happened in this case is very serious indeed, and it is important that section 68 has been available to maintain the rule of law.
“Section 68 (3) provides: ‘(3) If there is shown to be serious irregularity affecting the tribunal, the proceedings or the award, the court may — (a) remit the award to the tribunal, in whole or in part, for reconsideration, (b) set the award aside in whole or in part, or (c) declare the award to be of no effect, in whole or in part. The court shall not exercise its power to set aside or to declare an award to be of no effect, in whole or in part, unless it is satisfied that it would be inappropriate to remit the matters in question to the tribunal for reconsideration.’
“I was asked by Lord Wolfson KC in closing that should my judgment conclude in favour of Nigeria, as it does, to leave over the question of the order the Court should make so that the parties have the opportunity to present argument once they have considered the judgment. I respect that request and will hear that argument as soon as that can be arranged.”
Nigeria had filed an appeal against the enforcement of the arbitration award, and the UK commercial court granted the country relief in September 2020, returning the matter to the high court for trial.
At the two-month trial that took place before Knowles between January and March 2023, the Nigerian legal team argued that there was overwhelming evidence that the contract and the arbitration award had been procured through “an audacious fraud on Nigeria”.
They argued that the award should be set aside, citing the trials and conviction of some of the actors for corruption and money laundering as evidence of graft on an “industrial scale”.
Culled from The Cable
Appeal Court Sacks Nasarawa speaker
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has sacked the Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Hon. Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a judgement delivered on Tuesday, the court declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Hon. Sa’ad Abdullahi Ibrahim (Turakin-Opanda), as the rightful winner of the election for Umaisha/Ugya State Constituency.
Appeal Court affirms Hyacinth Alia’s victory as Benue Governor
The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, on Monday, upheld the election of Hyacinth Alia as declared by INEC after the March 18th, 2023 election as governor of Benue State
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the March 18 governorship election, Titus Uba, had approached the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the tribunal that upheld Alia’s election.
At the tribunal, Uba accused Alia’s deputy, Samuel Ode, of presenting a forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) contrary to Section 182(1)(j) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)
He also alleged that Alia’s name was submitted less than 180 days before the election date, and Ode was also not submitted to INEC after the party conducted a further re-run primary election.
A three-member panel of the tribunal, headed by Justice Ibrahim Karaye, dismissed the petition on the ground that it was a pre-election matter and was statute-barred.
Ruling on the appeal on Monday, the appeal court’s three-member panel led by Justice Onyekachi Aja Otisi held that Uba failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt the allegations of forgery against Ode
As long as God remains on the throne our mandate will be preserved, says Mutfwang
Plateau Governor, Caled Mutfwang spoken with confidence that as long as God remains on the throne, the people’s mandate will be preserved and protected as he reiterated his commitment to the rule of law, while assuring the people that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Mutfwang who was reacting to the Appeal Court judgement that sacked him on Sunday described the verdict as a temporary setback that will not deter him from repositioning the state.
“We have unwavering faith in the judiciary and the Constitution of Nigeria,” he added.
The Governor said he has instructed his legal team to file an appeal at the Supreme Court, admonishing citizens of the state and PDP supporters to remain calm.
Mutfwang gave the indication in a press statement signed by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Gyang Bere, expressed optimism that the mandate overwhelmingly given to him by the citizens would be restored.
Mutfwang polled 525,299 votes in the March 18 governorship election in the state, while Goshwe polled 481,370 votes.
Goshwe challenged the victory of Mutfwang at the tribunal, claiming that the Governor was not validly nominated and sponsored by his Party, insisting there was non-compliance with the Electoral Act in the election.
In a unanimous decision, a three-member panel of the tribunal headed by Justice R. Irele-Ifijeh dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.
Displeased with the judgment, the APC candidate appealed the tribunal judgment.
The appellate court ruling on Sunday, led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, held that the PDP did not validly sponsor the Governor during the election.
She held that the Party violated a court order to conduct a valid Congress in that state’s 17 Local Government Areas.
She said there was no evidence that the PDP complied with a subsisting High Court order which had directed it to conduct a valid party congress before sponsoring the governorship and other candidates.
The court held that the issue of qualification is both a pre-election and a post-election matter contrary to the tribunal’s findings, which held that the appellant lacked the locus to contest the validity of the respondent.
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