Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, has insisted that the Federal Government did not pay the sum of $200 million to an English court but only provided a bank guarantee in Nigeria’s case against Process and Industrial Development (P&ID).
Malami made the clarification in a statement issued by Umar Gwandu, his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, on Thursday in reaction to reports that the Federal Government had deposited the money.
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Justice Christopher Butcher, the presiding judge of the UK Commerical Court, had on 26 September, granted Nigeria leave to appeal the judgment of a UK Arbitration Tribunal, which had on 16 August ordered the Federal Government to compensate P&ID with $9.6 billion over the revocation of a 20-year Gas and Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA) signed in 2010.
However, the court ruled that as part of the conditions for the appeal, the sum of $200 million must be paid into its account as a security payment within 60 days.
The Federal Government acceded to the order of the UK Commercial Court just in time to beat the stipulated deadline.
But Malami explained that contrary to media reports, the country posted only a bank guarantee has the court had secured a variation of the security guarantee order.
According to the AGF, Nigeria still retains control of the money as it is still in the government’s coffers.
The statement read: “The court granted the Federal Government’s request for variation of
terms of the order seeking to provide bank guarantee in place of direct deposit.
“Our application for variation of the order was allowed and we are, as a result, not making cash deposit but posting a bank guarantee.
“We remain in control of our funds by the act of acceptance of the guarantee.
“The advantage of the variation in the judgment from direct deposit of cash to posting of bank guarantee is that the money and its control resides in the Federal Government as against if it were otherwise”.
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The minister noted that the money can only be withdrawn from the government if its appeal against P&ID turns unsuccessful.
“It is only when our case does not succeed, which we do not anticipate, that the court can order the withdrawal of the amount as stated in the bank guarantee,” the statement read.
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