A Nigerian judge has ordered that the lucrative oil block, Oil Prospecting Licence, OPL 245, be ceded to the Federal Government pending investigation and prosecution of suspects in the $1.1 billion Malabu Oil scam.
The Malabu oil deal involved the procurement of one of Nigeria’s richest oil fields, “OPL 245”, by Shell and Eni in 2011 when Mr. Goodluck Jonathan was President. The oil field is said to have about 9 billion barrels of crude. Nigeria is estimated to have between 22 billion and 35 billion barrels of crude left. That oil field alone is almost a third of all the oil Nigeria has left.
Nigeria’s former oil minister, Dan Etete, who was convicted for money laundering in France, owns Malabu Oil and Gas Limited. The company was incorporated five days before the oil block was awarded to it in 1998 during the regime of military dictator, Sani Abacha who died that year.
Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, ordered on Thursday January 26, 2017, that the oil block be transferred to the Federal Government pending the completion of investigation and prosecution of suspects.
The order followed an ex parte motion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, requesting that “ the property known as Oil Prospecting License (OPL 245) be managed by the Department of Petroleum Resources on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria pending the conclusion of investigation and prosecution”, of companies and individuals named in connection with acts of conspiracy bribery, official corruption and money laundering in the Malabu oil scam.
The controversial OPL 245, was said to have been acquired from the Federal Government by Malabu Oil and Gas Limited in hazy circumstances in 1998 and afterwards sold to oil giants, Shell and Agip, in opague transactions.
The Simon Ateba News had written extensively on the Malabu oil scam and you can read the stories below.