A Federal High Court in Lagos has awarded N100,000 cost against Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd., in a debt recovery suit by the Federal Government over oil shipment.

The Federal Government sued Chevron Nigeria Ltd., and joined Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd. as co-defendant

This suit is one among others seeking to recover 12 billion dollars missing crude oil revenue from some international oil companies.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun awarded the cost on Wednesday after striking out a preliminary objection by Chevron challenging the jurisdiction of the court on improper service of court processes.

The Federal Government was represented by Mr Ituah Imhanze and Mr Chineme Onuoma, while the defendants were represented by Mrs Miannaya Essien (SAN).

Essien had challenged the court’s jurisdiction, urging it to set aside the purported service of an amended writ of summons and amended statement of claim on Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd for being incompetent.

She argued that Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd was not served with the amended processes in accordance with the provisions of the law.

Olatoregun, in her ruling, held that service of originating processes was fundamental to the jurisdiction of the court, adding that such service must be personal except where personal service was not possible.

She held that by the provisions of Order 6 Rule 3 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, no such service of court processes shall be necessary, where the defendant by his legal practitioner, undertakes in writing to take service.

The court further held that where a party by this means, accepts service, he could not deny same, adding that from records, it could be recalled that the processes were served.

The court consequently held, “This application is totally and absolutely a waste of time and it is unbelievable.’’

Olatoregun ordered that the cost should be paid seven days from the date of award.

Counsel to the Federal Government, Imahnze, had after the ruling applied for a cost of N100,000 against Chevron Petroleum Nigeria Ltd.

Meanwhile, the court expressed displeasure that since 2016 when the case was brought before it, there had been so many applications, which had stalled progress of the suit.

The judge sought to know how many witnesses the parties were to call; both the plaintiff and defendants informed the court that they had two witnesses each to call in the trial.

The court consequently, adjourned the case until May 16 and 17 for trial.

The suit was filed by the Federal Government through its Counsel, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN) in 2016, against some International Oil Companies (IOCs) to recover lost revenues arising from undeclared and under-declared crude oil shipments from Nigeria to different parts of the world.

The Federal Government had also sued Total E&P Nig. Plc, alleging that the oil company under-declared the volume of crude oil it shipped out of the country between January 2011 and December 2014.

It also accused the oil company of short-changing it to the tune of 245 million dollars by allegedly shipping several barrels of crude oil out of Nigeria without making due remittance to the government.

It also filed similar suits against Agip Oil Company Ltd., Shell Western Supply & Trading Ltd., among others.

Source: Pmnewsnigeria


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