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Undeclared Oil Shipment: FG sues Agip, Total For $635m

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The Federal Government is demanding $635 million 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 Michael 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-shipment inspection agents. In some instances, the crude oil shipments were completely undeclared.

The plaintiff (Nigerian 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 Nigerian 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

In one of the instances cited, TOTAL E&P NIGERIA LIMITED shipped crude oil using a vessel by name TRIATHLON to Tostsa Total oil Trading SA of San Felipe Plaza-Suite 2100,5847 SAN FELIPE, 770557-HOUSTON United States at the port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America with a bill of lading number TCVMTRIATIA 1388. The shipment was not declared to the relevant authorities resulting in the shortfall of 968,784 barrels of crude oil in the value of $106,566240 as revenue to the Government,

Another under-declared crude oil was estimated at 491,850 barrels with a value of $54,103,500. It was shipped aboard a vessel named NORTH STAR and sold to BP Products North America of 501 Westlake Park Boulvard, Houston, TX 77079 United States, at port of Texas City, with bill of lading DROESVD23091101.

On two different occasions 768,990 barrels of crude oil, valued at $84,588,910 was loaded on a vessel named AUTHENTIC. It was Shipped to Socap international limited of Cannon’s court, 22 Victoria Street, Hamilton, HM12.Bermuda at the port of Chester Pennsylvanian, United States bill of lading ALMYSVDM17041101 and17041102

The Nigerian government seeks an order of the court compelling Total E&P Nigeria Limited to pay into the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, $245,258,640 being the total value of the missing revenues from the shortfall /under-declared/undeclared crude oil shipments of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Government also wants the oil firm pay General damages of $245,258,640 and Interest on the said sum at the rate of 21 percent per annum until the entire sum is liquidated.

The case has been adjourned till next week for hearing .

In a separate suit, the Federal Government of Nigeria alleges that NIGERIA AGIP OIL COMPANY LIMITED on 16 June 2014 lifted crude oil on board the vessel named VALUE. The firm shipped the cargo to Philadelphia Energy Solutions of 1735 Market street Philadelphia, PA USA at the port of Wilmington, Delaware, United States of America with Bill of lading number SEUK9HA21304143.

Government claims that the shipment was not declared to relevant authorities resulting in the shortfall of 175,334 barrels of crude oil in the value of $38,573,561as revenue to Federal Government of Nigeria.

On 27 June,2011,Nigerian Agip Oil Company limited lifted crude oil on board a vessel named COSMIC and shipped same to ENI TRADING & SHIPPING B.V. of Strawinskylaan 1641-Tower C/16 1077C XX. Again, government claims that the shipment was not declared to the relevant authorities resulting in a shortfall of 467,614 barrels of crude oil in the value of $107,274,990 as revenue to the Federal Government

Despite letters written by the legal representative of the Federal Government for payment of the shortfall, the company had failed to make any payments to the Federal Government.

The Federal Government of Nigeria now claims against Nigeria Agip Oil company limited:

*An order compelling the company to pay into Federal Government of Nigeria ‘so account with central bank of Nigeria the total sum of $145,848,551being the total value of the missing revenues from the shortfall/under declared/undeclared crude oil of the Federal Government

*Interest at the rate of 21 per cent per annum until the entire sum is liquidated.

*General damages in the sum of $145,848,551.and the cost of this legal action.

There are imminent claims against other Oil exploration companies including Chevron.

 

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Government

FG Approves N1.85 Billion For Construction of Ebonyi Salt Lake Walls

The Federal Government on Wednesday approved a sum of N1.85 billion for the construction of walls around Ebonyi Salt Lake.

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The Federal Government on Wednesday approved a sum of N1.85 billion for the construction of walls around Ebonyi Salt Lake.

Briefing newsmen at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) council meeting on Wednesday, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite disclosed that the project will be funded directly by the presidency. 

The Minister further explained that the 27km retaining wall would contain the loss of raw salt from the salt lakes in Ebonyi State, saving at least $88m spent yearly on salt importation.

Investors King earlier reported that Nigeria spent at least N155 Billion within the last two years to import salt and other locally available products from Asia and South America.

Salt is one of the most common mineral resources in Nigeria. A large deposit of salt could be found in Ebonyi State. The state even prides itself as the “salt of the nation”.

However, Nigeria has not been able to successfully preserve and mine the large salt deposits. 

The Minister nevertheless disclosed that the wall which will be built along the lake will help to solve the challenges. 

“The salt is in Ebonyi State, of course, naturally, but it cannot be mined without this infrastructure that we’re about to do, we’re building a retaining wall because water comes in and washes the salt away every time. 

“These are salt lakes that occur naturally, so the salt is in the lakes, but when water comes in, it washes the salt away”. He noted. 

According to the Minister, the wall which has been awarded to Reinforced Global Resources Limited, at the sum of N1.85bn is about 27 kilometres long and about 2.9 meters high. 

The retaining wall project is expected to be completed within six months after which the process of salt mining from the lake will begin. 

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Government

Nigerian Political Parties to Spend Billions of Naira as INEC Lift Ban on Political Campaigns

Political parties in Nigeria are expected to spend billions of naira in the next year’s elections as INEC officially lifts the ban on political activities. 

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2023 Presidential Candidates

Political parties in Nigeria are expected to spend billions of naira in the next year’s elections as INEC officially lifts the ban on political activities. 

It is about five months to the next general election in Nigeria where citizens will go to the polls to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice. Political parties are expected to spend billions of naira during this electioneering process as it was in previous elections. 

It will be recalled that the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed February 25th for the Presidential and National Assembly elections while Governorship and State Assembly elections will be held on March 11th, 2023.

Investors King understands that Nigerian previous elections were hugely monetised and next year’s election would not be an exception. 

A closer analysis of the presidential election shows that there are 18 Presidential candidates which will compete in 176,846 polling units. 

Going by the electoral laws and the previous election, all candidates are expected to appoint polling unit agents who are offered some token for their service. 

Investors King gathered that in the last elections, polling units agents were offered between N10,000 to N20,000. Using N10,000 as a variable, this means each of the leading political parties will expend at least N1.7 billion on polling unit agents.

Other areas where political parties are expected to spend money include logistics, public campaigns, posters and banners, courtesy call gratification and security among others. 

Besides, it is also expected that the leading political parties will engage in vote buying which could run into hundreds of billions of naira. Many Election Monitoring Groups (EMGs) such as Yiaga Africa have alleged voter inducement in previous elections. 

Political parties spend between N5000 to N10,000 to induce voters. It can be assumed that parties will spend more in the next general election since Nigeria’s voter population has increased to 95 million, adding more than 12 million new registered voters in the just concluded voter registration. 

Meanwhile, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that the commission will spend N305 billion to conduct the 2023 election. This is different from the commission’s yearly budget which currently stands at N40 billion. 

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Government

Nigeria Senate to Tax Unoccupied And Expensive Building Owners in Abuja

The Nigeria Senate intends to introduce a bill to tax unoccupied and outrageously expensive buildings in the Federal Capital City. 

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The Nigeria Senate intends to introduce a bill to tax unoccupied and outrageously expensive buildings in the Federal Capital City. 

The Chairman Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory, Senator Adeyemi Smart lamented that there were too many unoccupied buildings in the city despite being completed and built to taste. 

A check by Investors King shows that thousands of expensive houses are left unoccupied in Abuja, especially in high-net-worth neighbourhoods such as Guzape and Katampe Extension (Diplomatic Zone).

Smart Adeyemi made it known at a press briefing with members of the committee that the Senate will introduce a property tax bill on such buildings to mitigate the issue of accommodation in the capital city which has been a critical burden on average citizens. 

He said, “We have found that in this city, many houses are without habitation. There are a lot of mansions with no one living in them and no one is asking questions.

He added that the government will lock any uninhabited building and cause the owner to pay a fee to the government. 

“If you have built houses and they are unoccupied, we’d find out the reasons and tell the government to lock them up so that criminals will not take charge.

We’d propel legislation that will cause them to start paying taxes so that we’d use the money to develop the city”. He said.

The Senator also questioned why expensive buildings will be left unoccupied for years if the funds are from legitimate sources.  

It will be recalled that the ICPC Chairman Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, warned estate developers against serving as conduits for Illicit Financial Flows, (IFFS) at the commission’s 13th Annual General Meeting, AGM held in July 2022.

The ICPC Chairman further stated that the commission is currently probing completed and unoccupied estates in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt, with the help of sister agencies.

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