Court returns OPL 245 to Shell, ENI

The rights to the oil block were originally awarded to Malabu, in controversial circumstances, by former petroleum minister, Dan Etete.

EFCC Operatives

Presiding judge, Justice John Tsoho, had on January 26, revoked the companies’ ownership of the oil block based on a motion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC had asked the court to temporarily return OPL 245 to the government while it continued its investigation‎ of alleged corruption in the sale of the block.

However, Shell and ENI challenged the ruling and urged the court to reverse it because the rights of the parties to fair hearing was breached in reaching the judgment.

However, the transaction was nullified by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 and assigned to Shell.

The $1.3 billion deal was finally struck in 2011 with Shell and ENI paying $1.1 billion to Malabu to transfer its ownership rights.

The Malabu deal has been plagued with controversy over allegations that Nigerian officials were bribed to facilitate the deal.

Italian prosecutors have named former president, Goodluck Jonathan and former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke among those who illegally benefitted from the deal.

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