Malami: We Have Learnt Lessons from P&ID $9.6bn Judgment
Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), said yesterday, that the federal government had learnt lessons from the $9.6billion arbitral award delivered by a London arbitration panel against Nigeria and in favour of P&ID Limited.
Malami expressed the determination of the federal government to make Nigeria a hub for arbitration, as part of lessons learnt from the dispute.
According to Malami, “The whole saga associated with P&ID contract was a product of corruption, fraud and non-compliance with processes and procedures.”
A statement issued yesterday by Malami’s spokesperson, Dr. Umar Gwandu, quoted the minister as speaking at a virtual international conference to mark the African Arbitration Day.
Gwandu stated that the event was organised by British Institute of International and Comparative Law, Babcock University and the School of International Arbitration, at Queen Marry University of London.
The federal government is currently battling to have the London court to set aside the arbitral award, which Nigeria incurred following an alleged breach of a 2010 gas supply contract between it and the British Virgin Island firm.
Malami said: “The greatest lesson that is apparent arising from this is to put our house in order by way of ensuring that we have in place standard operating procedures relating to each and every agreement that has the potential of affecting our national economy and national interest and ensure that the stated standard operating procedures are followed at the end of the day and ensure that there are consequences for corrupt practices relating to the officials of the government that are saddled with the responsibility of processing agreements and ensuring at the end of the day that due processes and procedures are complied with.
“It is the component of tightening our situation within the context of compliances to procedures and ensuring that there are consequences for wrongdoings associated with officers that are found wanting or perhaps compromising along the line.”
Malami said the government is determined to see what can be done in terms of encouraging the choice of Nigeria as a seat of arbitration “so that what we are doing in terms of strengthening our arbitration and arbitral processes and proceeding are strengthened within the context of making us a hub of arbitration proceeding within the African continent.”
He said Nigeria has two arbitration centres in Abuja and Lagos that are fully equipped and provide all the services required of an arbitration centre.
The minister noted that Arbitration and Conciliation Act (ACA) 1988 Cap A18, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 is the National Law Governing Arbitration in Nigeria believing that Nigeria’s legal literature and jurisprudence, as it relates to arbitration, has substantially developed.
Malami said Nigeria has elaborate rules on arbitration as an alternative to litigation, adding that Nigeria’s arbitral rules are consistent with the prevailing best practice situation in Africa and the world.
He said Nigeria’s economic power in Africa now makes it imperative for the country to keep resolving investment disputes through arbitration in order to make Nigeria an investment hub of the continent.