$9bn judgement debt: Solicitor General absolves staff of unnecessary trips to UK

The Solicitor General of the Federation (SGF) and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata has said that all travels made by officers of the ministry during the hearing of the case between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID), which resulted to a British Court awarding a whopping sum of $9 billion against Nigeria were geared towards successful prosecution of the matter.

There are allegations that some government officials selfishly profited from the P&ID debacle through unnecessary travels to attend the hearings.

But, the Solicitor General of the Federation told Tribune Online that, “no single of the trip can be referred to as unnecessary.”

The British Court had ruled that the Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) had the right to seize $9 billion in Nigerian assets.

Apata, told our correspondent that the hearings leading to the arbitral award spanned the period of two years and that he, “never made a single trip until the enforcement proceedings.”

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Recalled that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) on Thursday, threatened to prosecute individuals and corporate entities responsible for the underhand-dealings that resulted in the award $9 billion against Nigeria by a British court.

Malami, who was reappointed for a second term as AGF and Minister of Justice said , the Federal Government is worried with the underhand manners by which the negotiations, signing and formation of the contract was carried out by some vested interests in the past administration in connivance with their local and international conspirators to inflict grave economic adversity on the country.

Malami, who was speaking in Abuja while addressing staff of the ministry on the road map for his ministry said, “as a government that has the mandate of the people and their interests at heart, we shall not fold our arms and allow this injustice to go unpunished, as all efforts, actions and steps shall be taken to bring to book all private individuals, corporate entities and government officials – home or abroad, past and present-that played direct and indirect roles in the conception, negotiations, signing, formation as well as prosecution of the purported agreement.”

Malami, who was emphatic that the federal government will appeal the judgment of the British court, explained that the dispute that led to the arbitration between the Nigerian government and P&PID which consequently resulted in the said court ruling arose from a 20 year Gas Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA) purportedly entered with P&ID by past administration in 2010, which contract P&ID never performed as agreed.

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