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$140m Saga: Court Blocks Shell’s Accounts For Allegedly Diverting 16m Barrels Of Crude Oil

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A Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos has granted a temporary Mareva injunction directing commercial banks to block Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited accounts.

The court ruled in a bid to recover the cash value of more than 16 million barrels of crude oil allegedly diverted by the oil giant from AITEO Eastern E & P Company Ltd.

Justice Oluremi Omowunmi Oguntoyinbo gave the order following an ex parte application in suit no FHC/L/CS/52/202 where AITEO Eastern E & P Company Ltd is the plaintiff/applicants and SPDC Ltd is the first defendant.

THE Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Shell Western Supply and Trading Ltd, Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Ltd, and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd are second, third, fourth and fifth defendants.

The respondents in the suit were 20 banks which Shell companies operate accounts with.

AITEO’s application was filed by Messrs Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), leading Dr Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Dapo Olanipekun (SAN), and four other Senior Advocates of Nigeria.

Oguntoyinbo, in his ruling said, the banks should, “ring-fence any cash, bonds, deposits, all forms of negotiable instruments to the value of $2.7billion and pay all standing credits to the Shell companies up to the value into an interest yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of the court.”

He also ruled that the Chief Registrar is to “hold the funds in trust pending the hearing of the motion and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed before it by AITEO.”

The order followed an application by AITEO Eastern E & P against SPDC and the other defendants with the 20 lenders as respondents.

The court had restrained the defendants or their agents/privies from presenting to the banks “any mandate or instrument for the withdrawal of any money and/or funds standing to the credit of any of the accounts” of the defendants kept/maintained “at any of the named respondent banks… without first preserving/ring-fencing the sum of $1,251,305.5 or its equivalent in any other official currency, including but not limited to the naira and/or pound sterling being the value of the plaintiff’s 1,022,029 barrels of crude oil (at the rate of $79.50 per barrel as stated in the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) letter dated 8th day of July, 2020.”

The respondents were further barred from offering any directive or instrument to the named banks for the withdrawal or any money and/or funds standing to the credit of any of the accounts of the five defendants kept or sustained at any of the named respondent banks and/or their branches without first preserving and or ring-fencing the total sum of $2,700,583,779,75 or its equivalent in any other official currency comprising of $799,000,000.00.

The sum is “the amounts claimed to have been paid in this suit by the plaintiff to the five defendants for the acquisition of the Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL) pipelines and the assets; $389,631,877.76 being the total amount claimed in this suit as having been lost by the plaintiff arising from the leakages in the NCTL and the degraded conditions of the NCTL; $578,951,901.99 being the total amount claimed in this suit as having been lost by the plaintiff arising from the crude theft/larceny in the NCTL; $933,000,000 being the total amount claimed in this suit as having being expended by the plaintiff for the repairs of the pipelines and acquisition of the equipment including well-heads, generators, and pumps as well as replacing the flow lines within the NCTL.

“That pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction, the named banks whether by themselves, director, managers, officers or howsoever are restrained in the interim from accepting, honouring or giving effect in any manner howsoever to any mandate, cheque or instructions presented by all the five defendants whether by themselves or through their agents or privies for the withdrawal of any sum of money and/or funds standing to the credit of all the defendants kept and or maintained at any of the named banks and or their branches without first preserving and or ring-fencing the sums as ordered in prayers 1, 2, 3 and/or 4 above.”

Oguntoyinbo ordered that the respondent banks, “to pay any sums of money standing to the credit of the defendants within 48 hours of the service of the order of this honourable court up to the sum/value of the amounts stated in prayers 1,2,3, and 4 above into an interest yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of this honourable court, who is to hold same in trust.

“Pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for an interlocutory injunction, the respondent banks are directed to sequestrate and/or ring-fence any cash, bonds, deposits, all forms of negotiable instruments or chose(s) in the action due to or standing to the credit sum/value of the amounts stated in prayer 1, 2 ,3 and/or 4 above.

“That pending the hearing and determination of the motion for an interlocutory injunction, the named banks are directed to file within 48hours of service of the order of this honourable court on them returns of the statement of account of the all the five defendants maintained with them as at the date of the order of this honourable court, such returns to be verified by affidavits”.

When the matter came up, the court was informed that the defendants had filed an application seeking to discharge the order.

The judge adjourned further proceedings till Wednesday, February 24.

 

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Gov Uncovers 3,900 Ghost IDPs In Borno Camp

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The Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Umara Zulum has fished out fake internally displaced persons (IDPs) at a IDPs camp in Maiduguri during a surprise visit to the camp.

Around midnight, yesterday, Zulum showed up at Mohammed Goni College of Islamic and Legal Studies in Maiduguri, where internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Abadam Local Government Area of northern Borno were being camped.

Zulum immediately sealed the entrance and supervised a headcount to identify actual IDPs, in order to put a stop to rampant cases of dubious residents pretending to be displaced, who spend day time at IDP camps to share food meant for IDPs, and towards the night, they return to their homes to sleep, with some of benefiting from other means through which the state distributes food to vulnerable non-IDPs in communities.

The governor’s mission, which ended past 1am, discovered that out of 1,000 households in the records of humanitarian officials, 650 households comprising 3,900 IDPs were ghosts.

No fewer than 450 households were found to be real IDPs after Zulum’s midnight headcount which was conducted by the governor alongside an official of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Air Commodore M. T. Abdullahi, and two commissioners (Agriculture, and Local Government and Emirate Affairs).

In humanitarian system, a household normally consist of at least six persons who are either related through families, or chosen to stay together for the purpose of receiving household aids.

Officials, who were part of the midnight headcount, said Zulum was not averse to approving support for any citizen who may be vulnerably in need of food since there is a committee doing that.

The governor also expressed opposition to some residents making dubious claims in other to take what is meant for IDPs while also benefiting from other existing welfare activities that target non IDPs

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Troops Chase Boko Haram Fighters Out Of Borno Town

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Soldiers, yesterday, prevented Boko Haram fighters from mounting a barricade on Damaturu-Maiduguri highway in Borno State.

The soldiers reportedly engaged the insurgents in a gun battle around Mainok and Jakana towns.

A commercial driver said that the incident happened shortly after the usual daily road closure was eased in the morning.

Troops usually close the road in the evening and open it at 7am, every day.

The driver said suspected insurgents who were about to mount road barricades and attack travellers were overpowered and driven away by soldiers.

“We were on our way to Maiduguri after spending the night in Damaturu when we were stopped by soldiers at a place after Mainok.

“We were earlier asked to turn back and later we were told to stay there. Shots were later fired ahead of us, which sounded like gunfire exchange. We were asked to proceed after about thirty five minutes,” he said.

He said extra patrols were stationed along the road.

Boko Haram has made life a hell for those who ply that route.

It was on the route that a newlywed bride was abducted last week but she was freed 24 hours after.

Before decorating the new service chiefs, last Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari gave them a few weeks to tackle the widespread insecurity in the country.

 

 

 

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Suspend 25% Contribution To Federation Account, FAAN Begs FG

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has called for the stoppage of its 25 per cent revenue contribution to the Federation Account.

FAAN said this would help it to address some infrastructure gaps.

The General Manager, FAAN, Mr Rabiu Yadudu, made the appeal during an oversight visit of the Senate Committee on Aviation at the Lagos Airport, yesterday.

Yadudu decried accumulated airlines debt to aviation agencies, particularly FAAN, adding that a particular airline owed N13billion for services rendered and unpaid.

Yadudu noted that one way to ensure development in the industry was to allow revenue generated by agencies in the sector to be ploughed back.

The managing director said that the practice was obtainable across the globe and was also part of the international standard and recommended practice.

“The industry still has an infrastructure gap to stabilise; therefore, government’s support in stabilising the industry is needed.

“This can be achieved by suspending the contributions to the Federation Account in compliance with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) Doc 9562.

“This document on airport generation provides that revenue generated by the airport should be transparently re-invested wholly in operating and developing airport facilities,” he said.

Yadudu said revenue generation was low as only two airports – the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) mainly sustained other airports expenditures.

He also highlighted the global economic challenge, both national and international, which had affected airline operators, causing them to reduce fleet, frequencies or withdraw operations, thus affecting the agency’s revenue generation.

Yadudu lamented the rising operating and maintenance cost of the new terminals and existing ones due to inflation and the devaluation of the naira.

However, the managing director said the agency was tweaking its plans to make other airports that were not breaking even to perform.

He also said the airport management had embarked on aggressive debt recovery, while introducing a Pay As You Go system, adding that it had also commenced a cashless policy among other loophole blockage areas.

Responding, the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Smart Adeyemi, said the idea was commendable, noting that the issue was constitutional and would require a constitutional review to achieve.

Adeyemi stressed the need for rehabilitation of airports.

“There are quite a lot of airports in the country that we need to start looking at budget inclusion for next year, not this year.

“We will not wait till there is a mishap before we start looking at fixing the runways which are in bad shape, a number of them since they were constructed have not been touched, and at times when you land in some of these airports, you don’t need to be a pilot to know that the plane will not maintain a balance,” he said.

 

 

 

 

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