By Nicholas Ibekwe [PREMIUM TIMES] and Austyn Ogannah [THE WILL]
Nigeria will lose at least N549 billion ($2.8 billion) in oil royalty and petroleum tax if what appears a shady and absurd deal the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, is negotiating with the Nigerian subsidiary of Chinese-owned Addax Petroleum, sails through, a joint investigation by PREMIUM TIMES and THE WILL has revealed.
This new shocking deal is reminiscent of the infamous Malabu Oil scandal in which the Attorney General was also named. It is not clear whether he is engaged in this new deal for pecuniary reasons.
We learnt that Mr. Adoke is working to reach an out-of-court settlement in a law suit over a 15-year alleged miscalculation of oil royalty obligations and taxes worth $1.7billion and at least $1 billion respectively between Addax (plaintiff) on one side and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Ministry of Petroleum Resources (Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Attorney General of the Federation (defendants) on the other.
Addax had approached a Federal High Court in Abuja in 2014 to stop the payment of the disputed unpaid royalty stemming from its alleged miscalculation of oil royalty requested by the DPR.
The company is also challenging the NNPC for over-lifting crude from its Production Sharing Contract (PSC) of OMLs 123, 124, 126 and 137 to cover for the alleged miscalculation.
A source with extensive knowledge of the matter told our reporters that Mr. Adoke is putting pressure on lawyers and other officials working on the case to discontinue the law suit for a negotiated settlement that is unfavourable to the interest of the country and may cost the government an hefty N549billion.
According to our sources, lawyers working on the case, who are confident that the government has a good case and should follow through with the suit, are now distraught by the deliberate attempt by Mr. Adoke, who interestingly did not send any legal representation despite being named a defendant in the suit, to tank their hard work.
“Adoke did not make a representation, did not file his submission; did not show any interest in the case whatsoever,” one of our sources said. “The only time he showed interest was when the Federal Government asked for his opinion as the chief law officer of the government.”
There seems to be a rush to tidy this deal before the elections. Pressures are… read full on PT