Malabu Scandal: Court returns OPL 245 to Shell, ENI

Eni
Eni

An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has reversed its previous ruling which retrieved the control of one of Nigeria’s richest oil blocks, OPL 245, from Shell and ENI.

The court had on January 26, issued an order, based on a motion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, retrieving the ownership of the oil block from the multinational companies.

Followong that order, Shell and ENI approached the court with an an application, challenging the ruling.

They contended that the rights of parties to fair hearing was not followed before the ruling was reached.

They prayed the court to reverse the order, and allow the parties adress the issue, legally.

Malabu, the company which was given the oil block in controversial circumstance in 1998 had also applied to be a party to the application.

Delivering the ruling on the various applications regarding the matter, Justice John Tsoho said the ownership of the company should return to Shell and ENI.

The court also refused the application by Malabu to join in the matter.

Details later…


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  • crude oil watch

    Premium Times Editor,

    IF THE APPLICATION FOR INTERIM FORFEITURE WAS WRONGLY FILED
    CONTRARY TO LAW IT WOULD BE GOOD ENOUGH REASON TO SET ASIDE
    THE PREVIOUSLY GRANTED FORFEITURE ORDER. NOTHING STOPS THE EFCC
    FROM RE-APPLYING TO SEIZE THE OIL BLOC OPL 245 AS PROCEED OF CRIME
    FOR SO LONG AS CRIMINAL CHARGES HAVE BEEN FILED FOR ARRAIGNMENT.

    • Foreign News Reel

      “The EFCC was granted an
      order for the block to be returned to the Nigerian Government, pending the
      prosecution of the oil companies involved. The EFCC’s affidavit labels the oil
      block as “proceeds of crime” and states that Nigerian authorities are “in the process
      of preferring a further charge bothering on Conspiracy, Bribery, Official
      Corruption and Money Laundering” against Shell and Eni subsidiaries. The EFCC
      alleges that Shell and Eni “conspired” with the Nigerian Attorney General in
      2011, Mohammed Adoke, to send the payment of “$1.2 Billion bribe money through
      Federal Government Escrow Account with JP Morgan Chase Bank.

      The EFCC was granted an order for the block to be returned to the
      Nigerian Government, pending the prosecution of the oil companies involved. The
      EFCC’s affidavit labels the oil block as “proceeds of crime” and states that
      Nigerian authorities are “in the process of preferring a further charge
      bothering on Conspiracy, Bribery, Official Corruption and Money Laundering”
      against Shell and Eni subsidiaries. The EFCC alleges that Shell and Eni
      “conspired” with the Nigerian Attorney General in 2011, Mohammed Adoke, to send
      the payment of “$1.2 Billion bribe money through Federal Government Escrow
      Account with JP Morgan Chase Bank”.

      ……………..Global Witness

      (United States of America)

      [January 26th, 2017]

  • Foreign News Reel

    “In 2011, Shell and Eni paid $1.1 billion to Malabu Oil and Gas, a front company secretly owned by a former Nigerian oil minister This crooked deal deprived Nigeria’s people of a sum worth 80% of its 2015 healthcare budget. Shell and Eni have always denied that they knew the money would go to Malabu, but documents seen by Global Witness show that the companies constructed the deal knowing that the money would flow ultimately to Etete’s company. Given that the block in question is estimated to hold as much as 9.23 billion barrels in probable reserves, investors face substantial losses from a backroom deal they knew nothing about”………….Global Witnes

  • Eso

    DEAR SIR,

    Nollywood-lite episode in Nigeria’s Court over OPL 245

    Since this court order itself could be set aside on appeal there’s no
    need to get ahead of oneself until the details of the court decision are
    reported by Premium Times. Fair trial is required for confiscation of assets
    as a general principle, but not where assets form proceeds of crime charged
    to a court of law for trial. Nigeria’s laws sure authorize interim sequestration
    of assets tainted of fraud without need for ‘fair hearing’ since any and all fair
    hearing required can be granted in the criminal trial subsequent. That’s the
    reason the Nigerian law authorizes interim forfeiture ahead of criminal trial.

    It is unclear as yet if denial of ‘fair hearing’ was the main pivot of Justice Tsoho’s
    verdict. At the hearing stage the Shell/Eni lawyers put forward several grounds
    for reversal of the prior forfeiture order, including one alleging that the EFCC
    Chairman is really not the person authorised by law to file for a forfeiture.

    There was another ground relied on – but quite a hilarious ground to be sure.
    The Shell Oil lawyer(s) argued that since an oil bloc is an acreage in the sea,
    rather than something tangible that can be held in one’s hands, the oil bloc
    can’t be seized by interim forfeiture. That was quite a funny argument to make,
    because it’s tantamount to saying the oil bloc is therefore not an asset since
    all assets are liable to forfeiture. Nigeria’s judicial system and its often comedic
    advocacy on display are very often rib-cracking Nollywood-lite comic strips.

  • Sword of Damocles

    It is still early in this story, but it is hard to see how this can end well for Nigeria. FDI is the nurturing essence that sustains/stimulates growth. And it is the primary reason why this will not end in Nigeria’s favor. Which makes this “fiasco of treason” more egregious. Blackman selling his inheritance for a pittance, while OYINBO carry the “crown jewels” comot. Oyinbo no say blackman dey selfish & wants instant gratification, so we are exploited like the children we act like. You know the sad thing? I bet you, that the thieves who shared that $1.3 billion have little or none of it left & nothing to show for it. No creativity, no initiative, no original thought. Now Oyinbo controls one of Nigeria’s most lucrative assets. I just dey sit down for here to dey laugh, WORTHLESS leaders who cannot see pass their noses. We talk too much, we need to reflect on what type of people we are. How on God’s earth would you sell an oil well capable of holding 9 BILLION barrels of oil for $1.3 B?????? You do stuff like that when you(the seller) & Eni/Shell(buyer) are engaged in a willful criminal conspiracy. Its not the first Nigerian “corrupt bargain”, and sadly it won’t be the last. Democracy, if it works in countries like Nigeria, will take a very looooooong time.

    • emmanuel

      Good position. We should have commenced such advocacy since 2016 when Buhari and his cabal commenced renewal of Oil Blocks and mining Licence
      That exercise is almost done, with same undertones and crooked patronages, then we began to hear the details of Malabu which is exactly how every other Oil Block went.
      The NASS should open inquiry into Oil block allocatios since 1975, beneficiaries, Signature bonuses paid or not, sub-leases and how proceeds of such sub-leases were received just like Malabu and the whole world wil know that Malabu is not an exception.
      Those who want to get a Block by all means should wait a little bit more. Afterall, Buharis daughter had to marry Indimis Son after IBB’s Son divorced a daughter – basis for the juicy Oil block. Automatic transference of commercial in-lawship

  • emmanuel

    All i know is that this Oil Block can neither go to the foolanis or the Yorubas. No single allocated Oil Block in Nigeria went through a process different from OPL245.
    If the South South and South East people agree that Nigeria is for all of us, then we must fight this battle no matter how dirty t gets.
    We have Indimi, Mai Deribe, Alakija, Adenuga, Danjuma, Obasanjo(Transcorp), Abacha, IBB under several proxies, etc. and non- went through a process adjudged to be transparent.