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OML 11 and 39 others: Nigerian Lawyer wants Shell investigated over alledged fraud of $200 million

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The Principal partner of Abuja based law firm, ‘Beulah Law Partners’, Barr. Mela Oforibika has petitioned the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) to carry out a criminal investigation into the activities of Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited.

In statement he personally signed and made available to CAPITAL POST in Abuja on Monday, the lawyer alledged that the oil giant connived with officials of Nigerian Petroleum Ministry to extend the lease terms of OML 11 and 39 other OMLs for the next 30 years that would see the Nigerian government losing $200 million, describing the situation as illegal and unlawful.

Citing relevant sections of the Constitution, the insisted on immediate action to save the Nigerian State of wholesale corruption.

The statement said: “We write to institute a Criminal complaint against Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, a foreign subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc which is involved in grand scale corruption against the Nigerian state and in breach of Articles 177 & 363 of the Dutch Criminal Code and bribery Act 2017 of United Kingdom.

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“We demand for an urgent investigation into this criminal complaint and seek redress in line with all enabling law and international best practices.

“We are a law firm run by patriotic Nigerians with expertise in Oil and gas law, with zero tolerance for corruption, having been involved in several litigations regarding the unscrupulous and illegal practices of oil companies in Niger Delta and represent a Non-Governmental Organization called Citizens Enlightenment and Participation Forum (CEPAF).

“We deem it expedient to draw your attention to the monumental fraud and brazen illegality as regards the renewal of Oil Mining Leases in Nigeria especially by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited/NNPC Joint Venture.”

He further pointed out that some sections of the Petroleum Act, 1969 have been clearly breached, particularly that the lease terms cannot be more than twenty years.

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“We have however noticed that rather than comply explicitly with the provisions of the Petroleum Act 1969 as “amended”, Shell petroleum Company of Nigeria Limited and its Joint Venture partners (SPDC/NNPC JV), have consistently and constantly defrauded the Federal Republic of Nigeria by acting contrary amongst others to the Provisions of Paragraph 10 of the First Schedule to the Petroleum Act which states as follows;

“The term of an Oil Lease shall not exceed twenty years but may be renewed in accordance with this Act”.

“It is therefore clear that the term for the grant of an Oil Mining Lease in Nigeria is twenty (20) years and no more.

It is therefore our submission that SPDC/NNPC JV corruptly influenced the Nigerian officials in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to illegally and unlawfully breach the express provisions of Paragraph 10 of the First schedule to the Petroleum Act 1969b (As Amended) to gain additional Ten (10) years for each of renewal from 1959 to 1989 and Ten (10) extra years from 1989 to 2019.

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“It is based on the foregoing that we write to request for a vigorous and in-depth investigation of the activities of Shell Petroleum depriving the Federal Government of Nigeria and the people of revenue from fees, rents and royalties of about $100,000,000.00 (One hundred Million US Dollars ) making a total of about $ 200,000,000.00 in lost/stolen revenue.

“We are prepared to give evidence whenever called upon in the course of your investigation and prosecution of the said companies and officials of the Netherlands”, the statement concluded.

But effort to have the media and public relations of Shell Petroleum react to CAPITAL POST’s inquiries did not yield result having made effort for two days.

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