The Federal Government has advanced its prosecution of international oil companies (IOCs) allegedly involved in massive crude theft in Nigeria with the commencement of trial at the Federal High Court, Lagos, against Brassoil Nigeria.
Between 1996 and 2014, underinvoicing of oil exports from Nigeria to the United States hit $69.8 billion, a 24.9 per cent worth of all oil exports to the United States.
Brassoil is one of the IOCs allegedly fingered in crude oil shipments from Nigeria to different parts of the world between 2011 and 2014.
Government, in a the suit marked FHC/L/CS/2016 last weekend, however, sought to recover lost revenues arising from undeclared and underdeclared crude oil shipments from Nigeria to different parts of the world between 2011 and 2014, starting with shipments to the United States.
Counsels to government led by Prof. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), called two foreign-based expert witnesses who were later crossexamined by counsel to the defendant led by Mr. Tunde Fagbohunlu (SAN).
The court presided by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun adjourned till June 5, 2017, for continuation of trial. Nigeria was yet to overcome the shock arising from the ongoing probe of corruption in its oil industry when the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) divulged the massive fraud arising from underinvoicing of crude oil exports from Nigeria to the United States.
In just 18 years, Nigeria, UNCTAD said in a report, had lost $69.8 billion of its common resources to United States through illicit financial flows arising from under invoicing from oil export by IOCs, whose production are done through Joint Ventures (JV) or Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Between 1996 and 2014, the report noted under-invoicing of oil exports from Nigeria to the US was worth $69.8 billion, or 24.9 per cent of all oil exports to the United States.
Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Mukhisa Kituyi, who unveiled the report, said that over and underinvoicing of trade transactions facilitated billions of US dollars in illicit financial flows into or out of some developing nations.
Trade mis-invoicing is thought to be one of the largest drivers of illicit financial flows from developing countries, so that the countries lose precious foreign exchange earnings, tax and income that might otherwise have been spent on development.
Findings of the study showed that between 2000 and 2014, under invoicing of gold exports from South Africa amounted to $78.2 billion or 67 per cent of total gold exports.
Trade with the leading partners exhibited the highest amounts: India ($40 billion), Germany ($18.4 billion), Italy ($15.5 billion) and the UK ($13.7 billion).”