In an ongoing legal tango at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, marked FHC/L/C1/452/2023, a former top shot of the Nigeria LNG Limited, Mr. Godwill Dike, has revealed how the country loses billions of dollars through sharp practices by directors and shareholders.
In just one instance, he revealed how smart officials cream off at least between $.45billion and $.5billion (N130billion) annually on price fixing.
Dike who worked as the General Manager, Commercial, for the NLNG for five years (Aug. 2015 to Aug. 2020) said he tried to provide a level-playing field that created value for all Stakeholders – Federal Government of Nigeria through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation which owned 49% shares; Shell Gas B.V., 25.6%; TotalEnergies Holding France, 15% and ENI International (N.A.) N.V.S.arl, 10.4%, without bias for any individual Shareholder, a principle that differed from his predecessors’ practice.
But his style was “seriously grimaced at by officials of the last three shareholders” in collaboration with those of NNPC.
For not acting in their support, Dike claimed they trumped up allegations against him throughout his five-year tenure. “I was attacked with unending false accusations, manipulations, victimisation, emotional torture, and blackmail, in the most dehumanising manner,” he said.
“Fortunately, after protracted investigations by several internal and independent forensic teams, and unprecedented intimidation, bullying, and under-hand tactics including attempts, vide an orchestrated shareholder audit led by a Shell trader from its buying affiliate, to fabricate unsupported premeditated-findings; all the allegations were proved to be without merit – no shred of wrongdoing found in all of the litany of accusations and investigations over almost two (2) years,” he added.
Dike detailed the atrocities at the money spinning NLNG to include:
a. Willful violations of antitrust laws;
b. Insider dealings;
C. Price fixing and transfer pricing infractions;
d. Manipulations and misrepresentations;
e. Cheating, fraud, and inconceivable unconscionable conducts;
f. Violation of fraud, anti-bribery and corruption laws
According to him, many of the infractions border on cross-jurisdictional illegalities, and violations of their applicable compliance regimes. They include:
i. Weak and ineffective Compliance Program – poor and lopsided
implementation, with zero remediation /consequence
management; a system that rewards corruption.
ii. Use of sophisticated, manipulative “tax evasion schemes that
out rightly steal from the Government and people of Nigeria.
iii. Insider Dealings of top staff of Commercial Department of NLNG, the LNG Trading Unit of TotalEnergies Gas & Power Limited (TGPL_ – TotalEnergies trading affiliate), the TotalEnergies nominated directors on NLNG board & the MAC representatives, for unfair value advantage to TotalEnergies
iv. Violation of the CAMA by the directors of NLNG by way of dereliction of fiduciary obligations to it and instead, promotion of interests of affiliates of Shell, TotalEnergies and ENI.
V. Anti-Competition practices
vi. Rigging of competitive tendering in favour of Shell, TotalEnergies and ENI.
vii. Misrepresentation of NLNG’s London Office to the UK
Government in order to evade UK tax – the truth about its business status in the UK.
viii. TotalEnergies’s Violations of Laws against Corrupt Practices (including the FCPA) through Fraud for Unfair Advantage.
Also, he stressed the “Use of sophisticated, manipulative tax evasion schemes to out-rightly steal from the Government and People of Nigeria.”
Dike is seeking redress for his unjust treatment.
His action promises to open the untold and monumental fraud at NLNG which ought to be another cash cow for Nigeria.
The trial Judge, Akintayo Aluko, has fixed further hearing in the matter for March 27, 2024.