VR Capital, a hedge fund firm, says payments made to Nigerian officials by Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) violated the law, Semafor Africa is .
VR Capital, a major stakeholder in P&ID, made the allegation in a separate lawsuit against “business partners it bought its stake in the company from”.
Nigeria is seeking to overturn a 2017 arbitration award of $6.6 billion plus interests in favour of P&ID, over a failed gas supply and processing agreement (GSPA).
The country is alleging that the contract was secured through dishonest means that included bribery and perjury and that the arbitration award, which has now risen to $11 billion because of interests, should be quashed.
DESPITE ITS PUBLIC BACKING, VR CAPITAL ACCUSES P&ID OF UNLAWFUL PAYMENTS
In 2019, the hedge fund managed by VR Capital Group, bought a large stake in P&ID.
Subsequently, the company into the case between P&ID and Nigeria and has since backed the company for the $11 billion payout.
In a move to overturn the arbitration award, Nigeria got a court clearance to request documents from P&ID stakeholders.
However, the New York district court vacated its order in November 2020, on the grounds that Nigeria had not “provided a good reason” for bypassing the procedures set out in a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) between the US and Nigeria.
But in February 2022, a US court of appeal for the second circuit Nigeria to request documents from P&ID stakeholders, including VR Capital.
According to report on Monday, details of the previously-confidential case between the P&ID shareholders emerged due to Nigeria’s request.
It said the filing came to light in New York in December following a two-year long disclosurebattle between the two parties.
A division of VR Capital wrote in May 2021 in a confidential London court of international arbitration filing that “regardless of whether or not these payments were made for corrupt purposes, they were unlawful”.
“As a matter of Nigerian law, any undisclosed payments to a public official by someone seeking a government contract is prima facie unlawful,” the court document reads.
The report said the payments VR Capital referred to as “unlawful” in its May 2021 filing, were those made by companies linked to P&ID to Grace Taiga and Taofiq Tijani — two petroleum ministry officials around the time the gas contract was signed.
Taiga is facing prosecution for to facilitate the award of contract in the P$ID case.
Meanwhile, Mark Howard, lawyer representing Nigeria, had told a high court that VR Capital is “cynically pursuing” vast damages from Nigeria in open court while alleging behind closed doors that Nigeria was indeed wronged by P&ID. (The Cable)