Court reserves judgment in FG’s $55m crude oil shipment suit against Agip

A Federal High Court in Lagos has further reserved judgment in a 55 million dollars debt recovery suit filed by the Federal Government of Nigeria against Agip Oil Company Ltd.

The suit, filed since 2016 by FG counsel, Professor Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), is one among other suits by the government seeking to recover almost 12 billion dollars 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 December 10, 2018.

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

On his part, plaintiff’s 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 dollars 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.

Government claims that Agip short-changed it to the tune of 55 million dollars. 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 percent.

Government had also sued Total E&P Nig. Plc., 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 dollars 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.

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