Nigeria can’t hide US bank document it obtained – P&ID

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The Process and Industrial Development, which obtained the $9.6bn arbitration award against the Federal Government, said on Saturday, that a New York federal court in the United States of America, has granted it access to documents which Nigeria government was preparing to obtain from 10 banks in the US.

The Federal Government, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, had in April, approached the New York court to subpoena the banks to enable it to obtain the account details of some of the country’s former top leaders in its bid to overturn the $9.6bn arbitration award.

Some of those whose account details were being sought in the Federal Government’s request filed in the New York court in April included former President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife, Patience, and a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The 10 banks sought by the government to be subpoenaed included Citigroup and JPMorgan, as well as the New York branches of Deutsche Bank AG.

Although Jonathan had denied owning any bank account in the US or any foreign country, Justice Lorna Schofield, was said to have on Thursday, granted Nigeria government’s request to subpoena the 10 US banks, to obtain bank documents of persons suspected to have connection with P&ID.

The Federal Government which alleged fraud in the contract leading to the $9.6bn award against it by a London arbitration panel in January 2017, informed the New York court of its intent to obtain the bank documents of persons suspected to have connection to P&ID to enable it to prove the alleged fraudulent activities of the British Virgin Island engineering firm.

P&ID in an e-mail sent to our correspondent on Saturday, hailed the New York court’s ruling said to have been delivered by Justice Lorna Shofield last Thursday.

Noting that it did not oppose the Federal Government’s application for the subpoena of the banks, it added that the court in its ruling rejected the Federal Government’s attempt to shield the documents from it.

It said with the ruling, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), would not be able to “misleadingly” use the documents obtained in the process in the London court where the Federal Government’s case challenging the $9.6bn award is pending.

It stated, “We are pleased with the U.S. court’s decision to grant P&ID discovery as part of Nigeria’s 1782 application. Nigeria’s desperate plea to keep the results of its fishing expedition hidden was rejected by the U.S. court.

“As a result, AG Malami will not be able to selectively and misleadingly use this discovery in the English courts as part of its baseless fraud case to avoid paying P&ID.”

Our correspondent approached the AGF’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Dr Umar Gwandu, for comment on the last Thursday’s ruling in New York, but he gave no comment.

A London arbitration panel had in January 2017 issued the humongous $9.6bn award against Nigeria after finding the Federal Government liable for the breach of a 20-year gas supply agreement signed in 2010 between P&ID and Nigeria, through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

P&ID had on August 16, 2019, obtained a judgment of the English commercial court permitting it to commence the enforcement of the $9.6bn arbitral award.

But Nigeria, alleging fraud in the agreement leading to the award of the $9.6bn, had launched various legal actions to stop the enforcement of the judgment.

The government through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, had since obtained a conditional stay of execution of the judgment and the court’s leave to appeal against the judgment.

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