Court fixes date for FG’s suit against Shell over $406.7m crude oil theft

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A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday fixed Dec. 8 for the hear of a suit filed by the Federal Government against Shell Western Supply & Trading Ltd over alleged 406. 75 million crude oil theft.

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The suit no. FHC/L/CS/336/16 was filed by FG’s Counsel, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN) before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun.

Defendants in the suit are Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd and its subsidiary — Shell Western Supply & Trading Ltd.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the suit which had earlier been fixed for Thursday could not be heard because of the absence of the trial judge.

No reason was, however, given for her absence.

A new date of Dec. 8 has been fixed for hearing of the suit.

Meanwhile, the plaintiff has filed a motion to amend its statement of claim, and has yet to move same before the court.

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In the suit, the plaintiff (FG) is claiming the sum of 406.75 million dollars from the defendants, representing the shortfall of money paid by it into the Federal Government account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) being money for crude oil lifted in 2013 and 2014.

In the supporting affidavit, the FG had accused the Anglo-Dutch company of not declaring or under-declaring crude oil shipments during the period.

It said that this was discovered following forensic analysis of bills of laden and shipping documents, adding that Shell cheated Nigeria of the revenue.

According to the affidavit, the consortium of experts tracked the global movements of the country’s hydro-carbons, including crude oil and gas.

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They identified the companies engaged in the practices that led to missing revenues from crude oil and gas export sales to different parts of the world.

They also revealed discrepancies in the export records from Nigeria with the import records at U.S. ports.

The plaintiff averred that the undeclared shipments between January 2013 and December 2014 brought the total value of the entire shortfall to 406.75 million dollars.

The defendants were said to have failed to respond to a Federal Government letter through its lawyer, seeking clarification as to the discrepancies.

The Federal Government is, therefore, seeking a court order to compel the two companies to pay 406.75 million dollars, being the total value of the missing revenue and interest payment at 21 per cent per annum.

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In addition, the government is also asking Shell to pay general and exemplary damages in the sum of 406.75 million dollars as well as the cost of the legal action it has instituted.

NAN also recalls that the Federal government had also sued Chevron, Total and Agip, in a similar case before the court.

The FG is asking for a total of 12.7 billion dollars over alleged non-declaration of 57 million barrels of crude shipped to the U.S. between 2011 and 2014.

They are among 15 oil majors targeted by the government for the recovery of 17 billion dollars in deprived revenue.

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