The Nigerian government has said that it has discovered undisclosed payments of $4,969.50 executed on 30th December 2009 and $5,000 on 31st January 2012 to Vera Taiga, daughter of the indicted former chief attorney of the Ministry of Petroleum, Grace Taiga.
This, was disclosed by the Nigerian government’s lawyer during a virtual court hearing, on Monday, according to a report by Reuters.
According to the lawyer, the Nigerian government possessed proof of payments to Vera from companies related to P&ID, one of which was made 11 days before the deal was inked.
The report alleged that the move was in an effort to overturn a $9.6 billion arbitration award against it and favouring Process and Industrial Developments, P&ID.
It added that the engineering and project manager, which had a contract to execute a gas project in Nigeria, was given a $6.6 billion arbitration award after the 2010 deal fell apart.
“Following years of interest accumulation beginning from 2013, the award is now worth almost $10 billion.
“Nigeria is praying for an English courts’ intervention to appeal the award, granted three years ago even though it had missed the 28-day appeal window. It claimed new information just emerged late last year,” the report said.
It said the payments became known after a U.S. discovery order in New York.
According to the Nigerian Government, P&ID officials and associated firms paid several other officials linked to the deal.
Recall that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, last year, alleged that Grace took bribes and breached the contract protocol, charges to which she had pleaded not guilty.
She is currently awaiting trial.
However, P&ID affirmed the payments were legitimate and intended to settle medical expenses.
“Nigeria’s conspiracy theory against P&ID — hatched almost a decade after the gas supply agreement was signed — relies on speculation and conjecture with no basis in fact,” a spokesman said.
The proceedings continue Tuesday and the verdict will determine if the Nigerian government can continue its appeal and establish its full case of supposed fraud in the English courts.