Undeclared Cargoes: Nigeria Sues AGIP, Total for $635 Million

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Cash strapped Nigeria’s Federal Government is demanding $635million from two multinational oil companies, Agip and Total for undeclared crude oil shipped out of the country between 2011 and 2014.

Two cases have been filed at the Federal High court in Lagos by senior lawyer and Senior advocate of Nigeria, Professor Fabian Ajogwu, who had handled several cases for the Federal Government on aviation, defence, energy, and financial services.

Hearing will begin next week before Justice Olatoregun Isola.

And there are indications that Ajogwu will also be filing claims against other multinationals, such as Chevron and Exxon-Mobil

The Nigerian Government in the two cases is claiming $490,517,280 from TOTAL E&P NIGERIA LIMITED and $145,848,102 from NIGERIA AGIP OIL COMPANY LIMITED.

The statements of claim filed before the court are accompanied by the sworn affidavits of three US based professionals.

The Nigerian Government contends that sometime in 2014,it realised a decline in its oil export revenue. This necessitated an intelligent gathering of data, which showed that part of the reasons for the decline was the under-declaration of crude oil shipments made by some major oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria.

Professor David Olowokere, a US citizen who is the lead Analyst at Loumos Group LLC, a technology and oil and gas auditing firm based in United States of America, Jerome Stanley, a counsel in the law firm of Henchy & Hackenberg, a law firm based in United States of America and head of the legal team engaged by Loumo Group LLC, made the court statements.

The third deponent is Micheal Kanko a citizen and resident of the State of Arizona United States of America, who is the founder and the current Chief Executive Officer of Trade Data Services Company.

A forensic analysis of export records from Nigeria and the import records from respective ports of entry at the United States of America used by Agip and Total showed discrepancies.

The volume of crude Oil declared to have been exported from Nigeria, was less than what was declared to have been imported into United States of America via the same shipment by the same vessel on the same bill of lading.

Some other shipments were not declared by the defendants to the requisite authorities, particularly the pre-shipments inspection agents. In some instances, the crude oil shipments were completely undeclared.

The plaintiff (Nigeria Government ) alleged further that all crude oil and gas shipments /exports from Nigeria are required to be declared and inspected by pre -shipment Agents appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria of revenue due from the crude oil shipments.

The inspection records are to be deposited with ministry of finance Nigeria .

The Nigeria Government averred that high-technology information technology system including satellite tracking systems were deployed by consultants in gathering the various validated information establishing the shortfalls in the export declarations and the import declaration in the country of destination.

Court documents showed that 57 million barrels of Nigeria crude oil was illegally exported by TOTAL E&P NIGERIA LIMITED, NIGERIA AGIP OIL COMPANY, CHEVRON and other companies and sold to buyers in the United States of America between January 2011 and December 2014. The revenue due to Nigeria as a result of this under-declaration and non-declaration is $12,722,600,327($12.7billionDollars) which translates to N2,493,629,664,092(2.5Trillion Naira) at an official rate of 197 Naira to one US Dollar.

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