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Nigeria Wins In $1.5bn Interocean Oil Case, Gains $660,000 Arbitration Cost

The Nigeria Federal Government has ones again recorded a major win in an oil case, following its win in the P&ID case.

In this case, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Dispute in the United States ordered Interocean Oil to pay the Federal Government of Nigeria $660,129.

This is reimbursement of its share of the arbitration costs incurred in the proceedings.

The tribunal, headed by William Park, held that Nigeria did not breach any of the contract agreement with Interocean Development Company and Interocean Oil Exploration Company.

The firms, which have Olasupo Shasore (SAN) on their legal team, had requested that Nigeria, its relevant privies and instrumentalities pay aggravated damages in excess of $1.5billion.

Ruling on Tuesday, the tribunal said Nigeria did not err in its obligations towards claimants under Nigerian or international laws.

“The Tribunal finds no liability on the part of Respondent in connection with Claimants’ loss of control over their investment, Pan Ocean,” the Judgment reads in part.

Reacting, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), described the judgment as an addition to successes Nigeria has recorded in international litigations.

Malami said the “era of connivance to deprive the nation of its resources for gratifying ulterior motives of vested interest at the expense of the populace,” is gone.

Meanwhile in the P&ID case, Cranston J., a judge in suit against British Virgin Island engineering firm, P&ID, ordered the firm to make an interim payment of more than £1.5 million to the Nigerian government.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria had appeared in the English High Court for a scheduled hearing following a landmark victory it secured which allowed it to bring a fraud challenge against a $10 billion arbitration award obtained by vulture-fund-backed P&ID well outside the normal time limits.

In a statement from the office of Attorney General, Nigeria will now proceed to a full fraud trial. The hearing had been held to decide procedural and costs issues relating to the FRN’s applications to challenge the arbitration award and to determine the short term directions to trial.

The sitting Judge, Cranston J ordered P&ID to make the interim payment to cover legal costs the FRN incurred as part of their successful application for the extension of time to challenge the arbitration award and procedural hearing earlier in the year.

A case management conference to determine the full trial window is scheduled to take place after November 2020.

A spokesperson from the Attorney General of the Federation said:

“This is another crucial win for Nigeria in our ongoing fight against the vulture-fund-backed P&ID. We are pleased that the English Courts have taken our fraud challenge seriously, and awarded us a substantial interim payment in respect of our successful application for an extension of time to challenge the award.

This is a significant blow for P&ID, who continue to attempt to delay the process.

“To date, P&ID and its financial backer VR Capital have not produced a single document or credible witness to challenge the FRN’s fraud evidence. Instead, they continue to resort to disseminating misleading claims, while taking every step possible to delay or obstruct our investigations across multiple jurisdictions.

“The FRN remains firmly committed to overturning the injustice of the $10 billion award, and will not rest until we secure justice for the people of Nigeria – no matter how long it takes. Investigations into the GSPA are ongoing, and we are confident that more of the truth will be revealed over the coming months.”