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Shell knows fate March 9 over frozen accounts

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Shell Petroleum Development Company


A Federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday, said it would on March 9, 2021 decide on three applications relating to its interim order directing 20 banks to block Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria Ltd accounts for alleged crude oil diversion.

Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo fixed the date after hearing arguments from counsel for Aiteo Eastern E&P Company Ltd, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) and Emeka Ezoani (SAN), Adewale Atake (SAN) for SPDC, Olawale Akoni (SAN) for the banks and Chukwuka Ikwuazom (SAN) for four Shell subsidiaries.

AITEO Eastern E&P Company Ltd is the plaintiff/applicant in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/52/202 and SPDC Ltd is the first defendant.
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 are second, third, fourth and fifth defendants.

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Justice Oguntoyinbo had on January 25, 2021, directed the commercial banks 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 (CR) of the court.

The CR is to “hold the funds in trust” pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed before the court by AITEO.

The order followed an application by AITEO Eastern E&P, in its bid to recover the cash value of its “more than 16 million barrels of crude oil” allegedly diverted by Shell.

The defendants subsequently filed an application seeking to discharge the order while Aiteo initiated contempt proceedings against two banks and their officials for allegedly “interfering, obstructing and/or frustrating compliance with the interim Mareva orders.”

Last Thursday, the judge adjourned to consider whether to first entertain a motion challenging its jurisdiction or to consider contempt proceedings.

Upon resumption of proceedings, yesterday, the court considered three applications relating to its jurisdiction, motion to discharge its ex-parte order and the committal proceedings.

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