EFCC seizes $1.6b Malabu oil block from Shell, others

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    Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 was ordered seized yesterday, but the big question  – the whereabouts of $1.6 billion  – paid for it remains as thorny as ever.

    The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), courtesy of a court order, seized the controversial Malabu oil block from four oil giants pending the conclusion of investigation and trial of those implicated in the $1,616,690,656.78 deal.

    The oil firms are Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCO), Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited and Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.

    The anti-graft agency is specifically seeking the whereabouts of $1,616,690,656.78  paid by SNEPCO and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited (NAE) into an escrow account.

    It was learnt that investigators were trying to determine last night whether or not the cash had been used for the settlement of the dispute on the oil block or diverted elsewhere.

    A  United Kingdom anti-corruption group, Global Witness, a few weeks ago alleged that about $523million of $1.1billion paid by Shell and Eni for Malabu Oil Block (OPL 245) has gone to some fronts of a former President.

    But in line with its mandate, the EFCC applied to the Federal High Court in Abuja for an interim order of forfeiture of the said oil block.

    It urged the court to issue an order to enable the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to manage the oil block during the seizure period.

    The application was filed by Aliyu M. Yusuf, Johnson Ojogbane, and H.M. Mohammed of the EFCC Legal Department in the Federal High Court, Abuja.

    The ex-parte originating summons was brought pursuant to Sections 24(a), 26(1) (a) &(3), 28, 29(a) &(b) of the EFCC (Establishment )Act and Section 44(2) (k) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and the inherent powers of the court.

    The anti-graft commission sought an interior order:

    • attaching Oil Prospecting Licence ( OPL 245) pending the conclusion of investigation and prosecution of Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited,  Malabu Oil and Gas Limited and other individuals named in connection with acts of conspiracy, bribery, official corruption and money laundering mentioned in the schedule attached to this summons;
    • directing that Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL 245) be managed by Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on behalf of the Federal Government pending the conclusion of investigation and prosecution of the said Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited. Malabu Oil and Gas Limited and other individuals named in connection with acts of conspiracy, bribery, official corruption and money laundering mentioned in the schedule attached to this summons; and
    • such further order or orders as the court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.

    The DPR will in the interim manage the oil block until investigation and the trial of all suspects implicated in the deal have been concluded.

    source:the nation

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