International Tribunal awards over USD600k in costs for Nigeria

BY BRIDGET EDOKWE ·

The Tribunal at the International Centre For Settlement Of Investment Disputes (World Bank) delivered its award on 6th October, 2020 in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Mr. Supo Sashore SAN and his team appeared for the 2 companies (Interocean Oil Development Company & Interocean Oil Exploration Company) which sued the Federal Government of Nigeria claiming nearly $5bn. Representing the Respondents on the other hand are Mr. Aare Afe Babalola SAN, CON, Mr. Adebayo Adenipekun, SAN Mr. Olu Daramola, SAN, Mr. Kehinde Ogunwumiju SAN, others.
The Claimants in the case sought the following reliefs;

  1. A Declaration that the Respondent has breached its obligations to the Claimants under Nigerian law and/or international law.
  2. Directing the Respondent to restore only the nominees of the Claimants as representatives in the 40% participating interest under the operations of all Joint Venture Agreements and in particular OML 98 and OPL 275;
  3. Finding that as matter of Nigerian and/or international law, any purported transfer or acquisition of the 100% interest of the Claimants, or any part thereof in 40% of OML 98/OPL 275 or any other asset, or its accumulated proceeds howsoever executed through the Respondent’s instrumentalities without the consent of the Claimants and in breach of Nigerian law, is an indirect expropriation of its participating interest in the leases in violation of NIPCA and Nigerian Law;
  4. Finding that as matter of Nigerian and/or international law, the acts and/or omissions of the Respondent (as particularised above) amount to a breach of the Respondent’s duty to ensure that the treatment of the Claimants did not fall below international minimum standards and/or were not in breach of its duty to treat the Claimants fairly and equitably;
  5. Directing the Respondent, its relevant privies and instrumentalities to pay damages in an amount to be proven during these arbitral proceedings which the Claimants estimate at being in excess of US$ 1 Billion (One Billion United States Dollars);
  6. Directing the Respondent, its relevant privies and instrumentalities to pay aggravated damages in the sum of US$ 500,000,000 (Five Hundred Million United States Dollars).
  7. Restitution of the undiluted 40% participating interest in OML 98 and OPL 275 and all monies accruing thereto by receiving the proceeds of unjust enrichment controlled in trust for the Claimants to date;
  8. Directing that the Claimants be reinstated as the beneficial owner [sic] of the 40% participating interest in OML 98.
  9. Directing the Respondent to pay the Claimants’ interest and taxes on all sums awarded;
  10. Directing the Respondents to pay the Claimants’ costs associated with these proceedings including professional fees and disbursements on a full indemnity basis;
  11. Ordering such further or other relief as the Tribunal deems appropriate in the circumstances.
  12. After 7 years of several hearings in Paris and London, the Tribunal delivered its award in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The Tribunal found that the Respondent did not breach its obligations toward Claimants under Nigerian law or under international law.

The Tribunal maintained that Even if it were to accept the Claimants’ position regarding the international minimum standard and its applicability it will state that Dr. Fadeyi’s actions are not attributable to the Respondent. The Tribunal further concluded that neither the NNPC nor Respondent breached their duties toward Claimants with respect to the alleged failures to investigate.

According to the Tribunal the decisions of the Federal High Court of Abuja from 2005 and 2006 do not create liability for the Respondent.

The Tribunal found no liability on the part of the Respondent in connection with Claimants’ loss of control over their investment, Pan Ocean.

On whether the detention of Mr. Rooks violated the minimum standard of treatment or the fair and equitable treatment and full protection and security standards, the Tribunal maintained that the Claimants have not presented arguments or evidence to support their claim that the detention of M Rooks was a violation, separate from their allegation that the 1987 arrest set into motion a chain of events that led to Claimants ultimately losing control of their company.

The Tribunal dismissed the Claimants’ claims for damages and for restitution as the beneficial owner of the 40% participating interest in OML 98.

The Tribunal while dismissing all other claims, ordered the Claimants to pay USD 660,129.87 to the Respondent as reimbursement of its share of the arbitration costs incurred in the proceedings.

Its Victory for the Afe Babalola Team and Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Call Bridget Edokwe Esq on 08060798767 or send your email to ngbarrister@gmail.com.

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