A Nigerian court has approved an arrest warrant for Richard Laing, ExxonMobil’s chief executive officer in Nigeria.
The Commission on Economic and Financial Crime (EFCC) said in a statement that the Federal Court of Justice in Abuja had approved an application for a bank order. This enables the EFCC to arrest Laing.
Judge Okon Abang granted the EFCC motion on January 29th. Laing had declined an invitation to speak to the agency three times, the EFCC said, prompting them to apply for an arrest warrant.
The EFCC said it was investigating suspected procurement fraud. The agency has announced that it has created more than $ 213 million in fraudulent change orders. The case focuses on Exxon’s Major Integrity Pipelines Project (MIPS).
The agency named Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) as the contractor. Suffolk Petroleum Services was the prime contractor. The agency named Saipem Contracting Nigeria, Global Offshore and Van Oord as subcontractors to Suffolk Petroleum.
Exxon declined to comment, citing longstanding legal policies.
MIPS work, which began more than 10 years ago, has mainly focused on engineering, procurement, construction and installation off the coast of Nigeria. This included land crossings, onshore pipeline sections, production and installation of risers, connection and abandonment of existing pipeline sections.
A dispute arose between MPN and Suffolk, which resulted in lengthy litigation.
Laing was promoted to Chairman and General Manager, Nigeria at Exxon in August 2020. He has been working in the country since 2017.