The applications filed by Chevron Plc and Total, seeking to stop claims by Nigerian government that they either failed to declare or under-declare crude oil lifted out of the country, were dismissed by a Federal High Court in Lagos today.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, struck out the applications for lack of merit, after hearing the arguments of the two parties.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, counsel to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), told the court of Chevron motion to amend the claims and file additional processes.
However, counsel to Chevron, Miannaya Aja Essien (SAN), in response to the suit filed by the Federal government, said her client had filed a counter-affidavit alongside written address, seeking the dismissal of the suit.
Ruling on the arguments of both parties, Justice Olatoregun, pronounced that the preliminary objection filed by Chevron was premature, and such was struck out.
The court also struck out the application filed by Total Plc, seeking to stop Nigeria government from prosecuting it over undeclared oil lifted out of the country.
At the resumed hearing of the Prof. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), counsel to Federal government, told the court that they have before the court, an application dated seeking June 6, 2016, to amend it’s claims filed against the oil company.
But counsel to Total Plc, Babatunde Fagbohunlu (SAN), told the court that about his client’s application seeking to dismiss the Federal government’s suit, on the ground that the suit is premature.
Olatoregun also struck out Total’s application, saying that the application was premature.
The two suits have been adjourned till October 25, for hearing.
Federal Government of Nigeria in a bid to recover various sums of money value of the shortfall in the lifting of the Nigerian crude oil dragged the two oil companies TOTAL E &P NIGERIA LIMITED AND Chevron Plc before the court.
The Nigerian Government is claiming the sum of $490,517,280 from Total E&P Nigeria Limited.
The US and French companies are among up to 15 oil majors targeted by the Nigerian government for the recovery of $17 billion in revenue between 2011 and 2014.
Prosecutor Fabian Ajogwu told reporters outside court that the dismissal indicated there was “a course of action for the federal government”.
The first case centres around the alleged non-declaration of some 57 million barrels worth $12.7 billion to the United States by the Nigerian subsidiaries of Total, Chevron and Italy’s Eni.
Anglo-Dutch Shell’s local subsidiary is also expected to face action in the coming weeks.
The court papers for Friday’s case only mentioned Total and say the government wants $245 million in damages and interest, with 21 percent interest for every year of revenue lost.
Eni said: “The claim dates back to last March and refers to a request to our subsidiary in Nigeria (Agip) for a payment of about $160 million.”
Chevron said it would not be commenting as the court case was active.