P&ID Case: Agbakoba Asks Malami To Consider Review Of Arbitration Legal Framework
The Vice President of the Nigeria Institute of Arbitration, Olisa Agbakoba, has called for the emplacement of a national arbitration policy and a transformational review of the legal framework relating to arbitration in the country.
He made the call in a statement on Friday while reacting to the judgement of a court in the United Kingdom on the case involving the Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).
Agbakoba specifically made the recommendation to the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami.
This comes after Ross Cranston, a judge of the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, granted Nigeria’s application for an extension of time and relief from sanctions, in the nation’s bid to overturn a $10 billion judgement awarded against it.
Agbakoba, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a former President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), believes this will prevent the question of reference to foreign arbitration in cases where all the connecting factors are Nigerian – such as the P&ID case.
He commended the judgement of the UK court which he said has prevented Nigeria from paying $10 billion out of its lean purse to essentially crooked Irish persons.
According to the SAN, the Muhammadu Buhari administration deserves to be applauded for a well-fought legal battle.
He added that it was commendable that the country successfully persuaded the judge that English public policy would oppose the unwitting use of the English courts as an engine of fraud, merely because Nigeria failed to challenge the award in good time.
Read the full statement by the former NBA president below:
The decision by Sir Ross Cranston, sitting as a Judge of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High court of England, on section 66/ 67 application by Nigeria for extension of time to challenge the Arbitral award in favour of Process and industrial development, is welcome news for us all, otherwise, Nigeria would pay 10 billion dollars out of its lean purse to essentially crooked Irish persons.
The story of the massive fraud on Nigeria by these Irish does not need repeat. What is so tragic is the collusion by an entire Government supporting, wittingly or not, what transpired.
The Government of President Buhari deserves full marks for a well-fought legal battle, at least to this stage to persuade the English Judge, that even though Nigeria was well out of time to challenge the award, that on the basis of massive fraud in which the conduct of Nigeria’s counsel at Arbitration, was in issue, Nigeria successfully persuaded the Judge that English public policy would oppose the unwitting use of the English courts as an engine of fraud, merely because Nigeria failed to challenge the Award in good time.
The English Judge had no difficulty to declare that as a result of fraud by Process and Industrial, that Nigeria will be allowed time to prove it.
This sets the path for a potential overturn of the fraudulent award in the English courts.
As I salute Abubakar Malami SAN, learned Attorney-General of the Federation, I will invite him to consider the emplacement of a National Arbitration policy and a transformational review of the legal framework relating to Arbitration, so that in cases, such as this, where all the connecting factors are Nigerian, there will no question of reference to foreign Arbitration.
Olisa Agbakoba SAN
Vice President, Nigeria Institute of Arbitration.