The Process and Industrial Development on Wednesday denied offering to negotiate with the federal government over a recent contentious judgment of a United Kingdom court which affirmed that it is owed $9.6bn by Nigeria.
This came as both Nigeria and the firm are set for a legal showdown in a push by the federal government to have the controversial judgment set aside in the UK court on Thursday (today).
The P&ID’s denial of an out-of-court negotiation with Nigeria over the judgment, followed media reports that it made the offer to have talks with the federal government after its conviction for fraud, tax evasion and other sundry offences by the Federal High Court, Abuja, on September 19, 2019.
Responding to an e-mail enquiries on Wednesday, an official of a London-based public relations firm, iNHouse Communications, which has been receiving and responding to public enquiries about P&ID in relation to the $9.6bn judgment, Chris Rogers, said such “suggestion” of an offer to negotiate with Nigeria was false.
“Any suggestion P&ID has made an offer of negotiation or that there is an offer the Nigerian government is considering is entirely false,” Rogers said.
Responding to an earlier enquiry if such negotiation was going on, Rogers said, on Wednesday, “I have checked, and any suggestion that negotiations have commenced is entirely false and incorrect”.
Earlier on September 1, the company expressed its readiness to negotiate with Nigeria over the $9.6bn judgment.
The company, however, advised the president Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to “appoint an authorised a party to enter into real negotiations” instead of what it called the Nigeria’s “baseless slander and sham investigations against P&ID and its founders”.
The firm said in a response to an enquiry, said “If the Nigerian government is serious about a willingness to negotiate then it must do so in good faith.
“This means that the Buhari administration must acknowledge the reality of the rulings of the independent Tribunal and the English Commercial Court,, desist from its campaign of baseless slander and sham investigations against P&ID and its founders and instead appoint an authorized party to enter into real negotiations.”
The Federal High Court in Abuja had on September 19 convicted and subsequently ordered the winding down of Process and Industrial Development Limited and its Nigerian affiliate, P&ID Nigeria Limited.
Justice Inyang Ekwo made the orders after the two firms, through their representatives, pleaded guilty to the 11 counts of fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and other sundry charges in connection with a year 2010 contract leading to the recent controversial judgment of a British court affirming the $9.6bn awarded in favour of the firm and against Nigeria by an arbitration panel in the UK.
In his judgment, which he delivered shortly after the representatives of the companies pleaded guilty to the charges, Justice Ekwo also ordered the forfeiture of “the assets and properties” of the two firms to the Nigerian government.
Swiftly reacting to the development, the firm described the trial and conviction as “sham and entirely illegitimate”.