Nigeria is fighting one of the biggest legal battles in its history. Approximately US$11 billion is at stake. In a historic trial, Nigeria fought P&ID, a vulture-fund backed shell company, who is aggressively pursuing money from the people of Nigeria in a carefully orchestrated scam. The reserved judgment is expected at a later date.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) is fighting one of the biggest legal battles in its history.
In 2023, the FRN’s years-long fight to overturn a scam agreement culminated in a historic trial in London. The agreement, procured through fraud and corruption by a vulture-fund backed shell company, Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) aimed to scam the people of Nigeria out of US$11 billion.
An eight-week trial took place in the High Court in London between January and March 2023, during which the FRN’s substantive application to finally set aside the award was heard. During the trial, Nigeria told the court that P&ID is guilty of bribery and corruption on an ‘industrial scale,’ that key associates of P&ID suppressed evidence of corruption in the initial arbitral proceedings, and that lawyers associated with P&ID disregarded their professional integrity, including sharing the FRN’s privileged documents, in pursuit of a promised ‘pot of gold’.
The trial exposed the industrial-scale greed of P&ID and its associates, and their disregard for the Nigerian people as they aggressively pursue money they are not rightfully owed. But Nigeria is fighting for more: to put a stop to predatory investment practices, so that international vultures cannot continue to prey on vulnerable nations and their people. Mark Howard KC, the FRN’s lead legal counsel in the case, said those at P&ID were ‘working under the illusion what they were doing in Nigeria in bribing people was open and honest’. Mr Howard added: ‘Quinn and Cahill were the perpetrators not the victims motivated by their own greed.’
The US$11 billion that Nigeria stands to lose would be life-changing for the Nigerian people, 40% of whom already live below the country’s poverty line. The arbitral award is equivalent to a third of Nigeria’s total annual budget for 2023.
Mark Howard KC emphasised that: ‘the people of Nigeria are the true victims here of what is going on, have been the target of corruption and dishonesty on a truly nauseating scale.’ He added Nigeria is ‘a soft target for people like Quinn and Cahill to tap up to make their millions, and no doubt there are many more Cahills, and Quinns, and VR Capital desperate to back them.
And they will continue to leach from the people of Nigeria until a fine line is drawn in the sand.’
Judgment has been reserved and is expected at a later date.
US$11 billion would pay for Nigeria’s national health budget around ten times over.
The original agreement was to build a sophisticated gas processing plant. P&ID was run by a failed music producer, Michael (“Mick”) Quinn, and his business partner, Brendan Cahill. It had no technical capabilities and few employees. It never had the ability to fulfil the agreement – and never intended to.
P&ID is now backed by a powerful international vulture fund. Vulture funds have a record of exploiting vulnerable countries. The individuals managing the fund, and their associates, are aggressively pursuing the US$11 billion for themselves.
In September 2020, the London Commercial Court ruled that Nigeria could challenge the then $10 billion arbitral award. The unprecedented judgment cited exceptional circumstances and noted that Nigeria had established a strong prima facie case of fraud.
In his judgment, the judge Sir Ross Cranston stated, “Nigeria has established a strong prima facie case that the [agreement] was procured by bribes paid to insiders as part of a larger scheme to defraud Nigeria. There is also a strong prima facie case that P&ID’s main witness in the arbitration, Mr Quinn, gave perjured evidence to the Tribunal and that, contrary to that evidence, P&ID was not in the position to perform the contract… Not only is the integrity of the arbitration system threatened, but that of the court as well, since to enforce an award in such circumstances would implicate it in the fraudulent scheme.”
In February 2022, Nigeria obtained orders from appeal courts in the US and British Virgin Islands enabling the country to obtain discovery to support its fraud allegations against P&ID.
This website sets out the facts of Nigeria’s case. It is updated regularly with relevant information and legal documents.
A timeline of key moments on the dispute from 2010 to present.
Nigeria is currently battling one of the biggest lawsuits of its time.
Approximately US$11 billion is at stake. The aggressively pursued debt is threatening to strip away state assets worth more than ten times the country’s national health budget; over eight times its education budget; or well over a quarter of its gross foreign reserves.
Since 2012, Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID), a shell company now backed by a powerful international vulture fund, VR Advisory Services Limited, has been attempting to enforce a scam agreement procured through fraud and corruption against the people of Nigeria.
What happened, who are P&ID and who is set to benefit from the award? Your frequently asked questions.
Official statements from the Attorney General’s office, legal documents and relevant articles in the media.