Nigeria’s application in the case with Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) for a stay of execution, leave to appeal and set aside judgement debt was heard on 26th September 2019 at the Commercial Court in London, UK. The British Commercial Court is a division of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice in England and Wales, UK, invariably a sub-division of the High Court of Justice. Some of the cases tried or heard at the Commercial Court in effect at the Queen’s Bench Division, especially those that border on frauds or criminal acts, can attract penalty of imprisonment.
In its judgement on 26th September 2019, the Commercial Court added insult to the injury it already inflicted with the previous judgement debt and affirmation of the damages awarded by Arbitration Tribunal. The Court ordered Nigeria (Defendant) to pay the sum of $200m as security within 60 days and also to pay the running cost of P&ID (Plaintiff) within 14 days but without specifying the amount. It refused to set aside the judgement debt. What the Commercial Court gave Nigeria in grating a stay of execution and leave to appeal, it constrained her by making an order for the above payments. These aspects of payment order were unnecessary. Nigeria is a nation and not a corporate personality or an individual who may abscond, at the conclusion of the case, if the case does not favour her. The question now, shall the further British Courts lend themselves to be used by a corporate entity and individuals to achieve their fraudulent quest?
Nigeria must not honour payment of the security amount of $200m nor the running cost of whatever amount P&ID may demand in the interim. The cogent reason for Nigeria not to honour the order is that the case is ongoing and has not been concluded. It is up to P&ID if it has not the fund to finance its case to conclusion. Litigation cost is never ascertained nor recognised until the conclusion of case and the amount is approved by the Court. In effect, the order is not actually binding on Nigeria. However, in Nigeria’s appeal of the whole case verdicts, this order must be included.
In the first place, there is no Court that can deny any of the opponents an appeal in the case of this magnitude. An opponent does not even need to ask for leave to appeal. Even if any Court tried to block one, the opponent can take a different route to a higher Court, for example, in the form of judicial review. Therefore, Nigeria needs not listen to the ranting and empty threat of the P&ID owners. They should remember that they are dealing with a country, Nigeria. If Nigeria at any time cannot be pushed around by any countries in the world how much less a mere company on paper that is even hiding in an offshore Island.
In my earlier article on this case titled P&ID $9.6bn Judgement Debt a Conspiracy to Swindle Nigeria published on the platforms of www.nigeriaworld.com, www.africacolumn.com, etc. on 4th September 2019, you may recall how I highlighted the general injustice blacks, including we Nigerians and our country, suffer in foreign countries. In confirmation of my earlier statement that we do not as such have justice in foreign countries; has this new order by the British Commercial Court for Nigeria to pay security amount of $200m and the running cost of the opponent when the case is ongoing proved what I said about their injustice?
The payment order was made for many reasons. It was to deliberately frustrate and complicate the case for Nigeria. It was to inform the further Courts not to leave Nigeria off the case unscathed. That if Nigeria were to be let off, a minimum of $200m damages plus cost must be awarded against her. That the previous Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Government of Nigeria earlier agreed to settle the case with some payment but it was only the amount which was not agreed. As the representatives of P&ID may be able to reach out to the various potential Judges at further Courts who shall hear the appeal; they will have something in hand to bargain with and persuade the Judges to at least deliver judgement against Nigeria for damages of a minimum amount of $200m which has already been deposited. As Nigeria has very strong grounds for a successful appeal; P&ID owners/officials and their accomplices in the case are heading to prison, as the appeal is based generally on frauds of the plaintiff. They need such payment order to frustrate Nigeria appeal and to prevent P&ID owners/officials and their accomplices from going to prison.
On P&ID losing the case at appeal, the Court will direct the National Crime Agency, UK to round up all those P&ID owners/officials and their accomplices that are involved in the fraudulent contract to swindle Nigeria billions of dollars. The UK may ask for the extradition of the Nigerian accomplices in the fraud to the UK. All of them will be taken to the Crown Court. As the Appeal Court or the Supreme Court has already decided the case, there will not be further trial at the Crown Court but only to sentence the P&ID owners/officials and their accomplices to the appropriate imprisonment terms.
I hope these further explained the injustice I alluded to, the connivance, conspiracy and accomplices in the case that was designed to swindle Nigeria and those who do not want to go empty handed in their agreed rate of share in any amount of damages award. Here, Nigeria can also see the reasons why the amount of $200m and the running cost of P&ID must not be paid. That the whole case must be appealed. As Nigeria has very strong grounds for a successful appeal, any impartial further Courts will uphold the appeal. This is especially for the fact that P&ID’s intention ab initio was to swindle Nigeria.
P&ID bribed and twisted many of their unauthorised Nigerian accomplices to award and sign the fraudulent contract. They never even had the ability to execute such magnitude of project nor the intention to execute the contract. They never laid a brick to start the project let alone to say the project was some degree complete to warrant award of any damages. They simply misled the British Arbitration Tribunal and Commercial Court to get these judgements. Those who own P&ID have history of such frauds and fraudulent claims through sympathetic and unsuspecting Courts. This case is not different from their such previously unexecuted contracts and related fraudulent claims through the Courts.
As this case is a qualifying case to go the Supreme Court on appeal, it is the prerogative of Nigeria to leapfrog the British Appeal Court straight to the British Supreme Court or even to European Court of Justice. But in respect to the British judiciary, the leapfrog should be made to the British Supreme Court of Justice, who may not have any prejudice or bias against Nigeria as the lower Courts. Some of the main reasons Buhari Government could give are; Nigeria is a sovereign country. The case with the awarded damages is a big matter and of international concern. The element of frauds and those involved in the case cut across countries. Time and cost will be saved if the whole package of the appeal is heard by the Supreme Court.
As Nigeria must have by now finalised all the relevant grounds for appeal; the appeal should be filed within 14 days from 26th September 2019 of the determination of the order for payment by the Commercial Court, whether to the Appeal Court or in a leapfrog to the Supreme Court. From the time the appeal is filed, the order for payment is, therefore, quarantined, only to be heard with the rest of the grounds for appeal.
Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation; The Nigeria owned media, Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), particularly its subsidiary, Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), should serve Nigeria. If only with foresight, effective investigative journalism and reporting, they ought to have got wind of the P&ID fraudulent contract being negotiated and signed. NTA ought to have trailed them or carried out a sting operation and reported the matter for the fraudulent contract to have been terminated before conclusion.
NBC and its subsidiaries should not just be independent on paper, they should be seen to be independent. They are not established to worship the Government of the day or to be praise singers to those in authority but to serve Nigeria as a nation. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) upon which NBC is moulded has been there for them to emulate. Today, without the BBC in its independence in operation; effective watchdog, foresight. investigative journalism and reporting from all over the world, the UK will not be an advanced economy, a harmonious society and among the advanced nations.