Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja has given an order ceding control of the lucrative oil block, Oil Prospecting License, OPL 245, to the Federal Government pending investigation and prosecution of suspects in the $1.1billion Malabu Oil scam.
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 EFCC had on December 20, 2016, charged nine suspects, including a former attorney general and minister of justice, Mohammed Adoke, with respect to the $1.1bn scam.
Other accused persons named in the charges filed by the EFCC before a Federal High Court in Abuja, were Dan Etete, Aliyu Abubakar, Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, Rocky Top Resource Ltd, Imperial Union Ltd, Novel Properties & Dev. Co. Ltd, Group Construction Ltd, Megatech Engineering Ltd.