The Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed May 31, 2017 to hear a suit filed by the Federal Government against a multinational oil company, Shell Western Supply & Trading Ltd, over alleged illegal crude oil exports.
The Federal Government accused Shell Western Supply & Trading Ltd of under-declaring the volume of crude oil it shipped out of the country between January 2013 and December 2014.
It alleged that the oil company short-changed it to the tune of $406.7m.
At the Monday proceedings in the case, counsel for the Federal Government, Ituah Imhanze, told the presiding judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, of the government’s intention to amend its claims against Shell and urged the judge to grant the application for amendment.
The judge granted the application for amendment of claims, she, however, expressed displeasure that there had been no progress in the case since it was filed last year.
She subsequently adjourned the matter till May 31 and June 1, 2017.
In the suit numbered, FHC/L/CS/336/16, filed through its lawyer, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), the Federal Government claimed to have uncovered the alleged illegal crude oil export by the defendant through a forensic analysis of the bills of laden and shipping documents of the defendant’s operations between 2013 and 2014.
The forensic analysis, the Federal Government claimed, was carried out by a consortium of experts it hired to track the global movements of the country’s hydrocarbons, including crude oil and gas.
The Federal Government averred that its forensic analysts found out that the defendant engaged in practices that led to missing revenues from crude oil and gas export sales to different parts of the world.
The Federal Government averred that its forensic experts revealed discrepancies in the export records of the oil company from Nigeria to ports in the United States of America.
The Federal Government claimed that it was short-changed by the defendant to the tune of $406.75m.
It urged the court to order and compel Shell to pay the sum to it with interest at the rate of 21 per cent.