Mark Howard, a British lawyer representing Nigeria in a London court dispute between Nigeria and Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID), says the trial will reveal corruption “on an industrial scale”.
Reuters reports that at a pre-trial review on Friday, Howard told the court that evidence of “widespread corruption and bribery on an industrial scale” would be put forward.
The lawyer said the corruption was not only of Nigerian officials but also of British lawyers.
“Our case is it was bribery to get the contract, ongoing bribery to keep everyone on board, bribery of lawyers,” he said, alleging that two London-based British lawyers previously involved in the case had committed “serious misconduct”.
At the High Court in London, an eight-week trial is scheduled to begin in January. In addition to in-person appearances, witnesses from Ireland and Nigeria will testify virtually.
In 2019, a British court gave P&ID the go-ahead to seize Nigerian assets worth $9 billion over a 2010 contract.
The company claimed it entered into an agreement with Nigeria to build a gas processing plant in Calabar, Cross River state, but that the deal collapsed because the Nigerian government did not fulfil its end of the bargain.
Following the judgement, Nigeria applied for an extension of time and relief from sanctions.
The application was granted by Ross Cranston, a judge of the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, in September 2020, thereby returning the case to arbitration.
The award, which has been accruing interest since 2013, is now worth $11 billion.
Nigeria had alleged that the gas deal was a scam designed to defraud the country.
Lawyers representing the federal government told the court that P&ID officials paid bribes to get the contract.
But P&ID denied the allegation and accused the Nigerian government of “false allegations and wild conspiracy theories”.