A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has directed 20 commercial banks in the country to block Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd, SPDC, accounts in an interim Mareva injunction granted by the court, in an effort 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.
The order was given by the Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo, following an ex parte application by AITEO Eastern E & P Company Ltd against SPDC, 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, Vanguard reported.
Justice Oguntoyinbo directed the 20 banks who are also respondents in the suit according to the report to “ring-fence any cash, bonds, deposits, all forms of negotiable instruments to the value of $2.7 billion 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.”
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The Chief Registrar is to “hold the funds in trust,” according to the court, pending the hearing of the motion and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed before it by AITEO.
The defendants or their agents/privies were restrained by the court from presenting to the named 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 July 8, 2020.”
$2,700,583,779,75 or its equivalent in any other official currency comprising of $799 million. 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.
The named banks are also restrained by the court directly or indirectly from accepting, honouring or giving effect in any manner howsoever to any mandate, cheque or instructions presented by all the five defendants directly or indirectly “without first preserving and or ring-fencing the sums as ordered in prayers 1,2,3 and/or 4 above, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.”
Further proceedings were adjourned till February 24, 2021 by the judge.
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.