The Nigerian government said it had discovered undisclosed payments of $4,969.50 executed on 30th December 2009 and $5,000 on 31st January 2012 to Vera Taiga, daughter of the indicted former chief attorney of the Ministry of Petroleum, Grace Taiga, in its current effort to overturn a $9.6 billion arbitration award against it and favouring Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID), Reuters reported on Monday.
The engineering and project manager, which had a contract to execute a gas project in Nigeria, was given a $6.6 billion arbitration award after the 2010 deal fell apart. Following years of interest accumulation beginning from 2013, the award is now worth almost $10 billion.
Nigeria is praying for an English courts’ intervention to appeal the award, granted three years ago even though it had missed the 28-day appeal window. It claimed new information just emerged late last year.
The government’s lawyer told an online court hearing that the Nigerian government possessed proof of payments to Vera from companies related to P&ID. One of them was made 11 days before the deal was inked.
It said the payments became known after a U.S. discovery order in New York.
According to the Nigerian Government, P&ID officials and associated firms paid several other officials linked to the deal.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleged last year, that Grace took bribes and breached the contract protocol, charges to which she had pleaded not guilty. She is currently awaiting trial.
P&ID affirmed the payments were legitimate and intended to settle medical expenses.
“Nigeria’s conspiracy theory against P&ID — hatched almost a decade after the gas supply agreement was signed — relies on speculation and conjecture with no basis in fact,” a spokesman said.
The proceedings continue Tuesday and the verdict will determine if the Nigerian government can continue its appeal and establish its full case of supposed fraud in the English courts.
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