The Federal Government has told a British Court that it has uncovered previously unknown payments to the daughter of a Nigerian official in its latest attempt to overturn an arbitration award against it, worth close to $10 billion.
Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID), a firm set up to carry out a gas project in Nigeria, won a $6.6 billion arbitration award after the 2010 deal collapsed.
The award has been accruing interest since 2013 and is now worth nearly $10 billion but Nigeria is seeking permission in the English courts to appeal the award, granted in 2017, despite having missed the 28-day appeal deadline.
It says new information came to light only in late 2019.
In an online court hearing, the government’s lawyer said it has evidence of payments from companies related to P&ID to Vera Taiga, 11 days before the deal was signed.
Vera’s mother, Grace Taiga, was the chief lawyer for the Petroleum Ministry at the time.
The government said one payment of $4,969.50 was made on December 30, 2009, and a second of $5,000 on January 31, 2012.
It also says the payments came to light following a U.S. discovery order in New York.
The government also said P&ID officials and companies linked to it paid several other officials in relation to the deal.
The EFCC had charged Grace Taiga last year with accepting bribes and failing to follow protocol related to the contract.
She has pleaded not guilty and awaits trial.