$55m Crude Oil Shipment: Court Reserves Judgment on FG’s Suit against Agip

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• Adjourns $69m suit against Chevron, Total until July 2

Davidson Iriekpen

A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday further reserved judgment in a $55 million debt recovery suit filed by the federal government against Agip Oil Company Ltd.

It further adjourned until July 2, a $69 million suit filed by the federal government against Chevron Nigeria Limited, seeking to recover oil revenue.

The suit filed since 2016 by the federal government’s counsel, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), is seeking to recover almost $12 billion in missing crude oil revenue from some international oil companies.

The defence had closed its case on November 6, 2018, after which the court had adjourned for adoption of final addresses.

On February 21, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun had reserved judgment in the suit to April 30 after plaintiff and defence counsel had adopted their final addresses before the court.

Yesterday, however, the case which was scheduled for judgment could not proceed as the court did not sit.

The court’s judgment will now be delivered on a date that will be communicated to the respective parties.

In moving his final address at the last adjourned date, defence counsel, Mr. Hameed Abdulkareem, had told the court that his address was dated and filed on Dec. 10, 2018.

He had adopted the arguments contained in same, as well as his reply on points of law, urging the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s action in its entirety, and award substantial cost.

On his part, plaintiff counsel, Mr. Ituah Imahnze, had informed the court that his final address was dated December 19, 2018 and had adopted the arguments contained, in urging the court to grant the reliefs sought.

During trial, the plaintiff called one witness and tendered three exhibits before the court, while the defendant also called one witness and tendered 12 exhibits.

The federal government is claiming $55 million from Agip for missing crude oil revenue.

It accused Agip of under-declaring the volume of crude oil it shipped out of the country between January 2011 and December 2014.

The government claims that Agip short-changed it to the tune of $55 million.

It filed the suit, to recover the lost revenues arising from undeclared and under-declared crude oil shipments from Nigeria to different parts of the world.

The plaintiff is therefore, praying the court to compel the oil firm to pay the said sum, with an annual interest rate of 21 per cent.

The federal government had also sued Total E&P, alleging that the oil company under-declared the volume of crude oil it shipped out of the country between January 2011 and December 2014.

It accused the oil company of short-changing it to the tune of $245 million by allegedly shipping several barrels of crude oil out of Nigeria without making due remittance to the government.

Similar suits are also pending against Chevron Nigeria Ltd, Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd, Shell Western Supply & Trading Ltd, among others.

Meanwhile the court yesterday further adjourned until July 2, a $69 million suit against Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd, seeking to recover oil revenue.

The federal government filed the suit against Chevron Nigeria Ltd, and Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd, as first and second defendants respectively.

The case which was adjourned for a report of proceedings at the Court of Appeal, was yesterday, further adjourned until July 2, as the court did not sit.

The case will therefore, be further mentioned on July 2, for a report of proceedings at the Court of Appeal.

This suit is one among other suits instituted by the federal government, seeking to recover almost $12 billion in missing crude oil revenue from some international oil companies.

The court also adjourned a similar suit against Total E&P Nigeria Plc, to July 2, for report of proceedings at the appellate court,