$55 Million Alleged Non-remittance: Agip Knows Fate April 20
Agip Head office in Lagos

A federal court in Lagos has fixed April 20 for judgment in the suit filed by the Nigerian government seeking to recover $110 million from the Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited.

Mojisola Olatoregun, the judge, adjourned for judgment on Thursday after parties in the suit adopted their final written addresses.

The Nigerian government is accusing the oil company of under-declaring the volume of crude oil it shipped out of the country between January 2011 and December 2014.

According to the government, the company, owned by Italian oil giant, Eni, short-changed the country to the tune of $55 million.

The government is praying the court to compel the oil firm to pay the $55 million with an annual interest of 21 per cent. It also wants the court to award another $55 million against Agip as exemplary damages.

The suit began in 2016, with the Nigerian government closing its case in October last year and the court adjourning for the oil company to open its defence.

The government also instituted similar lawsuits in 2016 against Total E&P Nigeria Plc and Chevron Nigeria Limited.

In the case of Total, the government sought to recover $245 million “being the total value of the missing revenues from the shortfall under-declared/undeclared crude oil shipments of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

They sought another $245 million as general damages. The government said the lawsuits followed a forensic analysis linking the decline in crude oil export and government revenue at the time to the alleged under-declaration of the volume of crude oil shipped out of the country by the oil companies.

The federal government claimed to have uncovered the alleged illegality using high-technology Information Technology system, including satellite tracking systems, which were deployed by its consultants.

The statements of claims were backed with supporting affidavits deposed to by three United States of America-based experts – David Olowokere, a US citizen and Lead Analyst at Loumos Group LLC, US; Jerome Stanley, a lawyer in the law firm of Henchy & Hackenberg; and Micheal Kanko, founder and Chief Executive Officer, Trade Data Services Company, State of Arizona, US.

The deponents said about 57 million barrels of crude oil were allegedly illegally exported by Total and sold to buyers in the US between January 2011 and December 2014 without making due remittance to the Nigerian government.