An Abuja upper area court has issued criminal summons against Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Nigeria and seven of its top executives. The allegations suggest the suspects criminally converted 16 million barrels of crude oil through the use of a fraudulent and unapproved metering system.
The direct criminal complaint filed by African Initiative Against Abuse of Public Trust seeks to have the executives of the oil company convicted for the criminal acts of conspiracy, theft, and cheating which are in violation of Sections 97, 287 and 323 of the Penal Code Law Cap 89 Law of Northern Nigeria, 1963.
The group alleged that as operators of the Bonny Terminal, Shell installed an unapproved metering system which it claimed was temporary and which it manipulated to deliberately understate the volume of crude oil that was injected to the terminal thereby shortchanging the local oil companies, owners of the oil and the Federal Government the revenue due to them. The oil companies include Belema Oil, Eroton, AITEO and Newcross.
From the court papers, the group alleged that the Department of Petroleum Resources has conducted investigation into the allegations and has indicted SPDC. They also allege that Shell has admitted to having cheated the companies of about 2 million barrels and also committed to refund the crude to the companies.
The group say they will be pressing for the maximum punishment which is 6 months in jail for conspiracy, 5 years for theft and 5 years for cheating.