Nigerian authorities are suing several international oil firms for illegally exporting more than $12.7 billion of crude oil between 2011 to 2014, according to the Atlanta Black Star. Chevron, Eni, Total, Shell, and Petrobras are all mentioned in the lawsuit and Exxon may also join the list of defendants, according to reports. Earlier this week, the federal government announced that it is seeking $406.75 million from Shell and its surrogate, Shell Western Supply and Trading Limited, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Court papers indicate that the amount represents the total sum of the missing revenues from oil shipments that were either undeclared or under-declared.
In their deposition, government lawyers said that the forensic analysis of shipping documents and a detailed auditing of bills of lading have exposed the fraudulent practices of the multinational oil companies.
During their analysis of export records from Nigeria and import records at ports in the U.S., investigators found mind-boggling discrepancies, reports NAN.
For instance, the shipping vessel, AUTHENTIC, which arrived at the U.S. port of Chester, Pennsylvania with crude oil from lifted from Nigeria on January 6th, 2013, was later discovered to have been loaded with about 660,712 barrels of crude oil worth more than $72 million, but none of it was declared to the relevant authorities in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s new leadership, headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, has successfully managed to recover the country’s stolen assets which were stashed away in several western countries.
In May, he told reporters that he was not offended by British Prime Minister David Cameron’s comments, describing Nigeria as “fantastically corrupt,” as long as Cameron would assist in returning Nigeria’s looted funds stashed away in British banks.
BY MARK BABATUNDE