The Nigerian government has slammed a theft allegation of $406.75 million against Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited and its surrogate Shell Western Supply & Trading Limited, dragging the oil company to court.
Court papers released on Tuesday, in Lagos revealed that the $406.75 million minimum is a short fall of money paid by the multinational oil firm into the account of the Nigerian government with Central Bank of Nigeria, for crude oil lifted in 2013 and 2014.
Shell is accused of under-declaring crude oil shipments during the period, following forensic analysis of bills of lading and shipping documents.
Government lawyer, Fabian Ajogwu, presented sworn affidavits of three United States of America based professionals, to prove that Shell cheated Nigeria of the revenue.
The presiding judge, Mojisola Olatoregun Isola, has adjourned the matter till October 20th, 2016 for mention of the case.
With the aid of a consortium experts, the Nigerian government was able to track the global movements of the country’s hydro-carbons including crude oil and gas with the main purposes of identifying the companies engaged in the practices that led to missing revenues from crude oil and gas exports sales to different parts of the world.
Government had asked Shell to clarify the discrepancies, with documentation, as a prelude to the repayment of the revenues and debt they now owe the government.
Till date Federal government has not received from the defendants any payment pursuant to the said letter nor the requested documents.
Nigerian government now seeks a court order compelling the two companies to pay into the Federal government of Nigeria account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, the sum of USD 406,751,070 being the total value of the missing revenue from the shortfall undeclared crude oil shipments of the country, made by the companies to United States of America.
Government also demands interest payment at 21% per annum on the sum of $406,751,070 until the entire sum is liquidated.
Shell in addition is being asked to pay general exemplary damages in the sum of $406,751,070 and the cost of instituting the legal action.
Apart from Shell, the Nigerian government has also sued Chevron, Total and Agip for a total of $12.7 billion over alleged non-declaration of some 57 million barrels of crude shipped out of the country between 2011 and 2014.
The oil firms are among up to 15 oil majors targeted by the Nigerian government for the recovery of $17 billion in deprived revenue.