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Oil Debt: Court to resume hearing of FG’s $406.8 m suit against 3 Oil Companies on Jan. 23

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…As Senate panel queries Total over $16bn Egina project***

A Federal High Court in Lagos will on Jan. 23, 2018, resume hearing of a $406.8 million  suit instituted by the Federal Government against Shell Western Supply & Trading Ltd, over crude oil shipment.

The suit numbered FHC/L/CS/336/16 was filed by Prof. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), counsel to the Federal Government.

Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd. and its subsidiary, Shell Western Supply & Trading Ltd.

The suit, which was billed for continuation of hearing, was stalled following the absence of the trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun.

Consequently, the continuation of hearing will resume on Jan. 23, 2018.

Similarly, two sister cases before the same court involving the Federal Government and Agip as well as the Federal Government and Chevron, which were earlier slated for hearing on Nov.20 , were also adjourned until  Jan. 23, 2018.

In the suit against Shell Western Supply, the plaintiff, ,Federal Government, is claiming the sum of $406.8 million from the defendants, which represent the shortfall of money paid into the Federal Government’s account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The money was said to be for crude oil lifted in 2013 and 2014.

In a supporting affidavit, the Federal Government had accused the Anglo-Dutch company of not declaring or under-declaring crude oil shipments during the period.

It said that this was discovered following forensic analysis of bills of laden and shipping documents, adding that Shell cheated Nigeria of the revenue.

According to the affidavit, the consortium of experts tracked the global movements of the country’s hydro-carbons, including crude oil and gas.

They identified the companies engaged in the practices that led to missing revenues from crude oil and gas export sales to different parts of the world.

They also revealed discrepancies in the export records from Nigeria with the import records at U.S. ports.

Plaintiff averred that the undeclared shipments between January 2013 and December 2014 brought the total value of the entire shortfall to $406.75 million.

The defendants were said to have failed to respond to a Federal Government’s letter through its legal representative, seeking clarifications as to the discrepancies.

The Federal Government is, therefore, seeking a court order to compel the two companies to pay $406.8 million, being the total value of the missing revenue and interest at 21 per cent per annum.

In addition, the government is also asking Shell to pay general exemplary damages in the sum of $406.75 million as well as the cost of the legal action.

The Federal Government had also sued Chevron, Total and Agip, in similar circumstances.

The Federal Government is asking for a total of $12.7 billion over alleged non-declaration of 57 million barrels of crude shipped to the U.S. between 2011 and 2014.

The oil companies are among 15 oil majors targeted by the government for the recovery of $17 billion in deprived revenue.

In the meantime, the Senate Committee on Local Content has asked Total Upstream Nigeria Limited to provide it with details of the local content in the floating, production, storage and offloading of the Egina project being constructed by the oil major.

When completed, the project, which includes drilling and completion of 44 oil wells and other ancillary facilities in deep sea, is expected to create 50,000 employment opportunities for Nigerians and aid acquisition of highly technical skills.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Solomon Adeola, directed Total to furnish the panel with its level of implementation of the Nigerian Local Content Act, 2010 on the project.

Adeola was quoted in a statement obtained on Sunday as making the demand when the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Total Upstream Nigeria Limited, Mr. Nicolas Terraz, appeared before the committee in respect to the project.

Although he commended Total for its achievements thus far on the project, Adeola insisted that more detailed information on its implementation of the Nigerian Local Content Act, 2010 would be required, “given the quantum increase in the project sum since it was awarded in March 2012.”

“In the last four years alone, the project value that was initially awarded at the sum of $3,143,499,498 to Samsung Hyundai Heavy Industries in 2012 has been varied from $6bn to $13bn and $16bn without commensurate increase in the local content portion of the project. The committee will want to have information on this aspect of the project in the interest of the Nigerian people,” he stated.

Adeola also stated that the committee might invite other contractors involved in the project, such as Saipem, Nestoil, Dorman Long, Nigerdock and Aveon Offshore.

“The committee also wants to get information on why the Nigerian Engina Project is more expensive than any other elsewhere in the world, in addition to its local component,” he added.

The statement said members of the committee present at the presentation were Senators Biodun Olujimi, Kabiru Marafa, Tayo Alasoadura, Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, Binta Garba, Bassey Akpan, Andrew Uchendu and Dino Melaye.

With additional report from Punch

Economy

Sanitary Pads: Reps Query Minister Over N65m Spent On New Year Party, Others

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 The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye has drawn the ire of the House of Representatives following the unguarded manner she allegedly spent monies which included expenditures of N45 million for a New Year party and, N20 million for sanitary pads.

The House of Representatives which has now queried the minister, also frowned on her other unrelated expenditure which includes N1.5 million for vehicle fuel.

Rep. Kafilat Ogbara, Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, led the interrogation of the Minister, over the non-payment of N1.5 billion to contractors despite the fund release in Abuja.

She said that the investigative hearing was aimed at uncovering the truth and not witch-hunting the Minister and the officials of the ministry.

The committee also investigated the alleged diversion of funds meant for contractor payments, following a petition from contractors.

The committee also sought clarification on funds appropriated for the African First Lady’s mission and the whereabouts of the N1.5 billion meant for contractor payments.

The minister however denied the allegations of misappropriation, overspending, and non-payment to contractors.

The procurement officer confirmed contractors’ claims, and the Director of Finance and Administration acknowledged only paying approved contracts.

It would be recalled that the committee had at its last sitting summoned the minister to appear before it to explain the rationale behind the non-payment.

The committee also ordered the stoppage of all 2024 contract processes by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs until the whereabouts of the money for the said contracts are determined

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Economy

LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaningful

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LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaning

…NRC Boss, Engr. Okhiria is Pointman

The Town and the Gown will on Tuesday converge at the Lagos State University (LASU), in a mutual fusion of quality and sustainable ideas, as the Managing Director, Nigeria Railways Corporation speaks on where the eggheads necessarily need to intervene, for the overall benefit of the nation.

NRC Boosts Passenger- Safety With  Strong Armed Forces Collaboration 
Engr. Fidet-Okhiria

Prof. Bamidele Badejo who is now back in LASU, confirmed this to the Maritime First, highlighting that Engr. Freeborn Okhiria would meticulously dissect a critical issue, titled: ‘From Exclusive Clause To Concurrent List: Potency for sustainable rail infrastructure development in Nigeria and the Lagos State example.

Oluwaseun Osiyemi, the Lagos State Commissioner of Transport, will be in attendance; at an event which will flag off by noon prompt, Tuesday 16th, July 2024, at the Femi Gbajabiamila Conference Centre.

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Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan

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Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan

The House of Representatives has ordered probes into the N1.12 trillion anchor borrowers scheme, an initiative of the Federal Government’s interventions and agricultural funding through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Also included in the probe are the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), the Bank of Industry (BoI) and other agencies.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Chike Okafor (APC-Imo) on the floor of the House in Abuja on Tuesday.

Presenting his motion, Okafor linked the growing food scarcity and malnutrition in Nigeria to the alleged mismanagement of agricultural funds intended for agricultural development in the country.

He said the Federal Government had expended N8 trillion in 8 years on various schemes and interventions in the last eight years with the view of making food available for millions of Nigerians.

He added that the alleged mismanagement, misapplication of funds and abuse of the programmes had left Nigeria with the twin challenges of food scarcity and malnutrition.

Okafor said that funds advanced to end users of the various Federal Government interventions had also been allegedly misused, misapplied and channelled to non-farming and non-agricultural purposes.

This, he said, was responsible for the current acute scarcity of food in the country.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated the Committee on Nutrition and Food Security as well as the Committee on Agricultural Production and Services; Agricultural Colleges and Institutions and Finance, to probe

The Committees were mandated to thoroughly investigate CBN’s alleged mismanagement of the Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) for which ₦1.12 trillion was to be disbursed to 4.67 million farmers.

The farmers were said to be involved in either maize, rice or wheat farming through 563 anchors.

The committees are to look into NIRSAL’s disbursement of ₦215,066,980,274.52, to facilitate agriculture and agribusinesses.

The House gave the committees four weeks to report back to the House.

The house also mandated the committees to equally assess how the Bank of Industry (BOI) disbursed N3 billion to 22,120 smallholder farmers through the Agriculture Value Chain Financing (AVCF) Programme.

The committee is also to investigate the handling of the N5 billion loan facility to the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) for livestock farmers across the country.

This will include the management of the National Agricultural Development N1.6 billion Recovery Fund for the Ginger Blight Epidemics Central Taskforce (GBECT).

This is for the control of Blight disease in Ginger, among other interventions. 

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