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Reflections on Nigeria v. Process & Industrial Developments Limited

Following an unprecedented ruling by an English High Court on an application in the Nigeria v. Process & Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) case granting Nigeria an extension in time to bring challenges under sections 67 and 68(2)(g) of the English Arbitration Act 1996 (“the 1996 Act”), this article reflects on the implication of the public policy elements of fraud relied on by Nigeria. The article interrogates the reasoning behind the Court’s decision, especially the allegations of fraud in the procurement of the underlying contract - a Gas Supply and Processing Agreement (‘GSPA’). The article also explores themes of economic justice arising from Nigeria’s reliance on fraud as a basis for challenging the arbitration award. Drawing on a recent decision of the Mozambique Constitutional Council over illegally procured commercial loans, the article argues that there are parallels and opportunities for learning between the two cases, especially relating to the role of civil society organisations (CSOs) in holding public officials accountable and exposing fraudulent deals with corrupt foreign officials. The reflection concludes with some thoughts about ongoing debates in Nigeria over whether adopting a national arbitration policy constitutes a viable option for reducing dependence on foreign courts and arbitration tribunals as forums for settling disputes with foreign investors.
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