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British Virgin Islands firm, P&ID, Ordered To Pay Nigeria £1.5m2 minutes read

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A court in the United Kingdom on Thursday ordered the British Virgin Islands firm, Process and Industrial Development (P&ID), to pay £1.5m to Nigeria within 21 days, a government official has said.

The UK court ordered P&ID to pay the money to Nigeria to cover the legal costs incurred by the Nigerian Government in successfully obtaining the court’s permission for an extension of time to challenge the $10bn arbitral award the company obtained against the West African country.

The statement issued by Dr. Umar Gwandu, the spokesperson for the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, read, “The Federal Republic of Nigeria today (Thursday) appeared in the English High Court for a scheduled hearing.

“The hearing followed the major victory secured by Federal Republic of Nigeria last Friday (September 4), allowing it to bring a fraud challenge against a $10bnn arbitration award obtained by vulture-fund-backed P&ID well outside the normal time limits.

“FRN will now proceed to a full fraud trial. The hearing today was held to decide procedural and costs issues relating to the FRN’s applications to challenge the arbitration award, and to determine the short term directions to trial.

“Cranston J ordered P&ID to make an interim payment of more than £1.5 million within 21 days to cover legal costs the FRN incurred as part of their successful application for the extension of time to challenge the arbitration award and procedural hearing earlier in the year.

“A case management conference to determine the full trial window is scheduled to take place after November 2020.”

It added, “We are pleased that the English courts have taken our fraud challenge seriously, and awarded us a substantial interim payment in respect of our successful application for an extension of time to challenge the award.”

Justice Ross Cranston had in a landmark judgment, on September 4, granted the Federal Government permission to challenge the final arbitral award delivered by a London arbitration tribunal in favour of P&ID and against Nigeria in January 2017.

The judge in the judgement agreed that there was prima facie case of fraud in the agreements leading to the award which should be inquired into.

The award which stood at $9.6bn as of 2019 has risen to $10bn.

The tribunal had held Nigeria liable for the alleged breach of a Gas Supply Processing Agreement it entered into with P&ID in 2010.

But the Nigerian government had approached the UK court requesting an extension of time within which to challenge the final arbitral award on the basis that the GSPA and the award were tainted by fraud.

North Africa Politics

One Killed As Egypt’s Protesters Demand President Sisi’s Resignation

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At least one person was killed during a protest against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi od Egypt’s government.

Thousands of protesters had on Friday defied a police crackdown to demonstrate against the Egyptian government for the sixth straight day.

The protests – dubbed by demonstrators as a “Friday of rage” – took place across cities, towns and rural areas in Egypt afternoon prayers, including in the capital, Cairo.

Videos of the protests on social media showed protesters burning tyres and chanting: “say it out loud and don’t be scared, el-Sisi has got to go”

In another protesters and riot police squared off in a neighbourhood before police charged at the crowd, causing people to scatter in all directions.

One video purportedly taken in the village of Kafr Saad in Damietta showed police wielding guns as they attempted to disperse protesters.

A 25-year-old protester, Sami Wagdy Bashir, was reportedly killed in al-Blida village in the Giza governorate.

Three others were wounded in the same shooting, the Najda human rights group said.

Mohamed Ali, a prominent opposition figure and a former military contractor living in exile, offered condolences to Bashir’s family.

In some areas, the protests continued late into the night, videos posted online by activists showed.

Several people were also arrested.

The latest wave of anti-government rallies was triggered by el-Sisi’s decision to demolish what he called illegal construction nationwide. Many of the affected neighbourhoods house some of the country’s poorest communities, many who have already been suffering because of the ailing economy, made worse by the coronavirus lockdown.

The demonstrations also come a year after a limited protest movement kindled by Ali, who accused the government of wasting money on lavish construction projects.

The protests last year triggered a wide-ranging crackdown, with Amnesty International saying at least 4,000 people were arrested.

Protests have become very rare in Egypt under el-Sisi, who has banned unauthorised demonstrations after taking power in 2013 following the military’s removal of then-President Mohammad Morsi.

Ahead of Friday’s protests, Ali called on Egyptians to take to the streets again in a video posted on Facebook, saying, “This is our chance to liberate our country.”

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Togolese Prime Minister, Government Resign

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Togolese Prime Minister, Komi Selom Klassou, and his government have resigned in a political reshuffle delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Klassou has served as prime minister since 2015.

The country’s president, Faure Gnassingbe, who won re-election in February, is set to appoint a new PM shortly.

Gnassingbe, disclosed the development in a statement on the presidency’s official website on Friday, congratulating the Cabinet for its work while in office.

Gnassingbe congratulated Klassou and his team for their “economic, political and social efforts and the encouraging results despite the health crisis around the world.”

A governmental change has been anticipated since President Gnassingbe re-election which extended his 15-year-old rule and a family dynasty that began when his father took power in a 1967 coup.

The presidency did not say when a new prime minister would be appointed.

Ahead of the February election, a fractured opposition struggled to launch a concerted campaign to unseat Gnassingbe despite widespread disaffection with his leadership of the small West African country of 8 million people.

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ECOWAS Gives Condition For Lifting Mali’s Sanction

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will not lift economic sanctions it slammed on Mali following a coup five weeks ago, the bloc said on Friday.

ECOWAS had imposed strict sanctions, which aralysed the landlocked country’s economy, after the Aug. 18 coup that overthrew Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as president.

The 15-member regional bloc said the blockade will be lifted after a civilian prime minister has been nominated.

The sanctions “will be lifted when a civilian prime minister is named”, ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou said on Friday.

The announcement came shortly after Mali’s new president, Colonel Bah N’Daou (retd), was sworn in at a ceremony in the capital Bamako

N’Daou, a former defence minister, was picked by the coup leader, Colonel Assimi Goita, to head a transitional government until elections are held.

The elections are expected to hold in 18 months.

N’daou, 70, took the oath of office in front of several hundred military officers, political leaders and diplomats. Col Goita was sworn in as vice president during a ceremony in the capital Bamako.

Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony, the new president said: “The charter is my guidebook.

“Mali has given me everything. I am happy to be its submissive slave, willing to do everything for it to return to full constitutional legality, with elected authorities, legitimate representatives.

“The transition period which begins will not dispute any international undertaking by Mali, nor the agreements signed by the government.”

N’daou, who also served as defence minister in 2014 and previously headed the air force, has been described by former colleagues as “principled”.

In his inaugural address, he said he would crack down on graft, one of the main complaints against Keita’s government, and stamp out abuses of civilians by the armed forces.

Besides fearing that the coup could undermine their own power, presidents in the wider Sahel region are concerned prolonged uncertainty could jeopardise a joint campaign against Islamist militants centred in northern and central Mali.

A previous coup in Mali in 2012 helped hasten the fall of the desert north to al Qaeda-linked militants, forcing a French intervention the following year to drive them back.

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