A London court has nullified the $11 billion damages imposed on Nigeria by Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) Limited, a gas company, in relation to a failed gas processing project in Cross River, Nigeria. The court ruled that the gas processing project was secured through a bribe paid to Nigerian oil ministry officials.
Judge Robin Knowles, delivering the judgment, emphasized that P&ID failed to disclose the bribery when seeking arbitration against Nigeria, rendering the damages invalid. The court dismissed P&ID’s request to return to arbitration. This decision follows the High Court’s previous ruling in October that the contract obtained by P&ID was through bribery and fraud.
Earlier this month, Judge Knowles ordered P&ID to pay £20 million in damages and compensation to the Nigerian government. This verdict came after P&ID attempted to restart arbitration against Nigeria for an alleged breach of a 2010 gas supply agreement, which the High Court rejected due to the 2023 judgment.
The court findings revealed that P&ID engaged in bribery with Nigerian officials involved in the 2010 gas supply and processing agreement. The legal battle began in 2017 when a tribunal instructed Nigeria to pay P&ID $6.6 billion in damages, along with interest. In September 2020, the decision was ratified by Ross Cranston, a judge in the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales.
During court proceedings, Nigeria alleged that P&ID executives used bribery to secure the contract. P&ID denied the accusations, claiming they were baseless conspiracy theories. In March, Nigeria argued that the contract was obtained deceitfully, involving bribery and perjury, leading to an escalation of the arbitration award to $11 billion. Judge Robin Knowles ruled in favor of Nigeria, stating, “The arbitration awards were obtained by fraud and were contrary to public policy.”