Way out of spurious $9.6b PI&D award

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By Emmanuel Ogebe

We are taking time to briefly review the mysterious P&ID saga and the odious award of almost $10 Billion to them, against Nigeria, with interest reportedly accruing at $1.2 million each day effectively for no service delivery.

We are not counsel in the matter but as an issue of grave national and international concern, we feel it necessary to highlight some aspects of this controversial deal.

It is to be noted that the almost $10 Billion award to a two-man company exceeds the entire national debt incurred by the Nigerian Government over a decade to multiple debtors known as the Paris Club debt. That debt which took decades to pay ballooned to over $18Billion which President Obasanjo negotiated and paid off. The P&ID award is equivalent to approximately half of the Paris Club debt compounded over two decades!

Our analysis is to provide further insight into this issue.

COMPETENCY OF PARTIES
One of the parties P&ID is a shadowy company of dubious antecedents which appears to be a special purpose creature for speculating in choses in action which is illegal in Nigeria.

There was nothing in the history and pedigree of its promoters that showed competence, capacity and expertise in the subject matter of the contract which is oil and gas and energy production. Indeed, the principal promoter of the company was a dance organizer with only s secondary school education.

Besides that, the company itself had no track record of any achievements or successes.

The other party was the Ministry of Petroleum of Nigeria. It too was improperly constituted for the purpose of binding the country in a contract of this magnitude. The president of Nigeria was abroad incapacitated, the VP was not empowered to act and the Executive Council and the Attorney General did not appear to have met, reviewed or approved any such contract.

A now deceased minister of Petroleum unilaterally signed the contract, if in fact he did so, without consultation with relevant authorities.

All said, both parties appear woefully incompetent for the transaction in question.

OBJECTIVE Parties were to harness and provide gas for processing into power generation under a Gas Supply & Processing Agreement (GSPA.) Neither party fulfilled its obligations under the contract. However P&ID claimed it had spent $40 million in preparations although there was no tangible output on ground and also claimed for future earnings on a plant it never built.
COMPETING CLAIM
Even if the parties were deemed technically competent and duly constituted to enter into the contract to actualize the GSPA’s objective and even if there was no contributory negligence on both sides, there is a serious new dimension of a competing or adverse claim.

A company affiliated with billionaire businessman and philanthropist Gen. TY Danjuma has stated that:

a. they spent the $40 million on preparations for the contract objective and not P&ID

b. Furthermore a P&ID promoter was hired by their company as a consultant to develop the project

c. The consultant stole the intellectual property or proprietary data for the project from them and bid for the project on behalf of P&ID.

According to Bloomberg’s investigative news report, “Nigerians skeptical of P&ID’s position includes Danjuma, the 81-year-old billionaire and former general. In an interview with Businessweek, he said the gas flaring project was originally his idea, and that one of his companies, Tita-Kuru Petrochemicals Ltd., had spent the $40 million preparing it, not Quinn. The Irishman had been a consultant, using Danjuma’s funds and office space, the general said. When Quinn applied for the contract himself, Danjuma was upset.

The realization dawned, he said, that “my consultant was going to steal my project.” He recalled being promised a share of P&ID in return for his initial investment, but added that he hadn’t heard from the company in years.”

RESOLUTION
Given the newly emerging facts, it would appear that:

a. Tita-Kuru Petrochemical company is the actual owner of the intellectual property stolen by P&ID promoter late Irishman Quinn based on which he bid for the contract as P&ID.

b. It is only logical and fair that the stake of the late Quinn, if not P&ID’s entire or substantial interest in the contract, should vest in Tita-Kuru Petrochemical Company from which it was stolen in the first place

c. Tita-Kuru Petrochemical should then determine if it will continue with the project, which in effect was stolen from it, to provide much needed gas-powered electricity.

While equity does not aid the indolent, he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.

There are numerous other questions arising with regard to whether P&ID and it’s late lead promoter were scammers and intentionally rigged this GSPA to fail for purposes of defrauding the Nigerian people. That is a source for further investigation.

However in the light of new evidence, it appears a Nigerian company Tita-Kuru Petroleum limited is the first victim of P&ID’s schemes.

It is hoped that Tita-Kuru Petroleum’s shocking revelations will be inquired into for a more just and equitable resolution of an ignominious and ignoble saga

* Ogebe, a legal practitioner, is Managing Partner of the US Law Group, based in Washington

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