The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, has fixed April 20, 2019, for judgment in the suit filed by the Nigerian government to recover the sum of $110million from Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun fixed the judgment date on Thursday, after the parties adopted their final written addresses.

In the suit, the Nigerian government accused Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited of under-declaring the volume of crude oil it shipped out of the country between January 2011 and December 2014.

The government alleged that the oil giant short-changed it to the tune of $55million and it is praying the court to compel the oil firm to pay the $55million with an annual interest of 21 per cent.

It also wants the court to award another $55million against Agip as exemplary damages.

The legal battle has been on since 2016.

There are similar lawsuits pending against Total E&P Nigeria Plc and Chevron Nigeria Limited by same government.

In the case of Total, the Nigerian sought to recover $245,258,640, “being the total value of the missing revenues from the shortfall under-declared/undeclared crude oil shipments of the Federal Government of Nigeria”. It sought another $245,258,640 as general damages.

The government said the lawsuits followed a forensic analysis linking the decline in crude oil export and government revenue at the time to the alleged under-declaration of the volume of crude oil shipped out of the country by the oil companies.

The Nigerian government claimed to have uncovered the alleged illegality using high-technology information technology system, including satellite tracking systems, which were deployed by its consultants.

The statements of claims were backed with supporting affidavits deposed to by three United States of America-based experts – Prof David Olowokere, a US citizen and Lead Analyst at Loumos Group LLC, US; Jerome Stanley, a lawyer in the law firm of Henchy & Hackenberg; and Micheal Kanko, founder and Chief Executive Officer, Trade Data Services Company, State of Arizona, US.

According to the deponents, about 57 million barrels of crude oil were allegedly exported illegally by Total and sold to buyers in the US between January 2011 and December 2014 without making due remittance to the government.

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