The Federal Government is considering criminal charges against some international oil companies (IOCs) over billions of dollars from undeclared crude oil proceeds, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said yesterday.
Speaking during the hearing of a House of Representatives ad-hoc panel probing allegations of $17 billion stolen from undeclared crude, Malami said there are currently nine civil cases the government instituted against some oil coys on the matter in Lagos and Abuja.
He said, however, that in the end, they might initiate criminal charges in order to bring the companies to book despite the civil cases.
The AGF, who noted that the investigation by the Abdulrazak Namdas (APC, Adamawa) led panel did not cover the period of this administration, said that he obliged to make presentation before the committee because it affected the AGF’s office.
The cases in Lagos, he said are FG vs Chevron, FG vs Total, FG vs Agip, FG vs Brass Oil Services Company Limited and FG vs Shell Western Supply and Shell Petroleum Nigeria Limited. Those in Abuja are FG vs Taleveras, FG vs Adax Petroleum Limited, FG vs Funfah Oil Limited and FG vs Consolidated Oil Limited.
“Notwithstanding the pendency of the cases, the possibility of looking at criminal infractions is there, although we have taken a position on that, but certainly that is also an issue,” he said.
Malami, said none of the nine ongoing cases has been effectively concluded due to delays by lawyers to the defendants and other factors.
Meanwhile, the committee said based on the submissions by the Nigeria Navy and NEITI, the amount of crude oil lifted from Nigeria in 2014 was over 1.1 billion barrels, giving a daily output of over 3million barrel per day.
But officials of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said that was only a projection but that the actual figure was a little over 700m barrels in 2014.