Business World

Sunday 20 October 2019

Nigeria is told to pay deposit for appeal bid

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari disputes the award
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari disputes the award

David Chance

The Nigerian government has been told to deposit a $200m (€183m) security deposit with a British court so as to pursue an appeal against a €9bn judgement against it. The award was made in favour of an Irish-backed company.

The High Court in the UK ruled on Thursday that in order to appeal the judgement, the Nigerian government, led by president Muhammadu Buhari, was also to pay $250,000 in legal costs to the company, P&ID.

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"The Court has ruled that the Nigerian Government must put up $200 million to maintain a stay of execution whilst it pursues an appeal against enforcement of the now $9.6 billion award in favour of P&ID," the company said in a statement.

P&ID won a ruling in the High Court in August over a gas-to-electricity plant the company was contracted to build in 2010, a contract the Nigerian government has said was fraudulent despite losing to P&ID in a series of court rulings.

The company had pledged to deliver 2,000MW of electricity from the plant in a country of 200 million people, where only around a third of its power capacity is regularly working, despite the fact that it has Africa's largest reserves of oil.

"The Nigerian Government will now have to put its money where its mouth is if it wants to avoid immediate seizure of assets," P&ID said.

The company was given the go-ahead to seize Nigerian assets after the ruling and the award is equivalent to a fifth of the West African state's foreign exchange reserves.

P&ID is run by Irish businessman Brendan Cahill after his partner in the firm, Michael Quinn, passed away.

The company, Mr Cahill and Mr Quinn have had long-standing business dealings in Nigeria, ranging from defence contracts to energy.

The two Irish entrepreneurs are credited with kickstarting the domestic Nigerian shipping and oil support industry.

Irish Independent

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