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

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




A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday fixed December 8 for the hear of a suit filed by the Federal Government against Shell Western Supply & Trading Limied over alleged $406.75 million crude oil theft.

The suit, no. FHC/L/CS/336/16, was filed by the Federal Government’s Counsel, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun.
Defendants in the suit are Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited and its subsidiary — Shell Western Supply & Trading Limited.
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 December 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.

In the suit, the plaintiff is claiming the sum of $406.75 million from the defendants, representing the shortfall of money paid by it into the Federal Government account with the Central Bank of Nigeria being money for crude oil lifted in 2013 and 2014.
In the supporting affidavit, the Federal Government 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.
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 US 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.
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, being the total value of the missing revenue and interest payment at 21 per cent per annum.

In addition, the government is also asking Shell to pay general and exemplary damages in the sum of $406.75 million as well as the cost of the legal action it has instituted.
The Federal government had also sued Chevron, Total and Agip in a similar case before the court.
The Federal Government is asking for a total of $12.7 billion over alleged non-declaration of 57 million barrels of crude shipped to the US between 2011 and 2014.
They are among 15 oil majors targeted by the government for the recovery of $17 billion in deprived revenue.

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