Exxon Mobil Producing has been directed to pay the sum of $1.6bn equivalent of about N684bn to the federal government of Nigeria as outstanding balance of oil block renewal fee due since 2009.
Consequently, the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property has issued the oil giant demand notice requesting for the payment of the money.
The panel which is led by Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla said Exxon Mobil was supposed to pay the sum of $2.5bn (about N900bn) for three oil blocks namely oil mining leases 67, 68, 70. Out of this sum the company managed to pay $600 million of the due fee.
Mr. Obono-Obla further revealed to the press that despite the demand notice issue to Mobil since last year, the company has not complied up till now.
Obono-Obla also reveal that the panel might be forced to take the matter to the United States government in order to pressured Mobil to fulfill their legal obligation.
Giving more details of how the panel came into the Mobil matter Obono-Obla said, “the petition against Mobil was filed before the panel by one of Nigeria’s illustrious lawyers, Femi Falana, SAN.
Femi Falana SAN
“USA has a law known as Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 1977 which prohibits American companies doing business abroad from indulging in corrupt practices: the panel shall lodge a complaint against Mobil to the USA government.
“USA will open a criminal investigation against Mobil for economic sabotage against the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
When contacted concerning the issue, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, Femi Falana, acknowledged petitioning the panel to determine the alleged payment of only $600 (N216bn) out of payable fee of $2.5bn (900bn) for the renewal of the three oil blocks since 2009.
However, ExxonMobil has since denied her indebtedness to the Nigerian government insisting that all its financial obligations in respect of the Oil Mining License OML 67, 68, and 80 were fulfilled.
The oil giant through a letter signed by the company’s Executive Director and General Counsel Sadiq Adamu, reference MPN-LAW FMJ –OBO-0718 -0059 insisted that the said OML were renewed in 2009 in full compliances with the provision of the leases, the Petroleum act and other relevant laws and the renewal terms.