Court summons Shell, 7 others over alleged illegal metering system
An Upper Area Court sitting in Zuba, FCT, has issued criminal summons against Shell Petroleum Development Company over allegations of stealing 16 million barrels of crude oil through the use of a fraudulent and unapproved metering system.
Also summoned alongside Shell are seven of its top executives; namely Chibueze Uduanochie, Simon Ruddy, Bashir Bello, Osagie Okunbor, Igo Weli, Toyin Olagunji and Capt. Callium Finlayson.
The summon, dated Feb. 25, was issued and signed by Judge Gambo Garba of the court.
The court ordered Shell petroleum company and its seven executives to appear before it on March 3 to answer the charge levelled against them by the complainant.
The suit, marked DC/CR/200/2021, was filed by the African Initiative Against Abuse of Public Trust.
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.
It claimed that the action of Shell shortchanged the local oil companies, owners of the oil and the Federal Government of the revenue due to them.
The oil companies include Belema Oil, Eroton, AITEO and Newcross.
Consequently, the group asked the court for an order convicting the Shell executives of the criminal acts of conspiracy, theft and cheating which according to them, violated Sections 97, 287 and 323 of the Penal Code Law Cap 89 Law of Northern Nigeria, 1963.
The group also alleged that the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had conducted investigations into the allegations and had indicted Shell.
They also alleged that Shell had admitted to having cheated the companies of about 2 million barrels and also committed to refund the crude to the companies.
The group further said it would be pressing for the maximum punishment, which is six months in prison for conspiracy, five years for theft and five years for cheating.