Malabu, the firm owned by a former petroleum minister Dan Etete, will appear before a court in London on Monday for a three-day hearing appeal against the freezing of $85 million proceeds from the tainted Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 deal.
The 3-day hearing is expected to provide fresh insight into the United Kingdom prosecution case over contentious OPL 245 sale that will also apply to Shell and Eni as well as Etete and any other indicted officials, monitors say.
“A hearing in London this month will determine whether some of the funds related to the deal will be unfrozen at the request of Malabu. This will attest to the UK courts’ willingness to stand firm on preventing dirty money from being laundered through the UK. It will also be an opportunity for the new reform-minded government of Nigeria to deal with a legacy of corruption from previous administrations”, a November 17 report, ‘Shell and Eni’s misadventures in Nigeria’, published by London-based anti-corruption campaign group, Global Witness, stated.
According Barnaby Pace of Global Witness: “We think there’s also an opportunity for the Nigerian government to turn up, saying that the money is stolen Nigerian assets and branding the deal corrupt, which would mean taking away Shell and Eni’s one defence on the deal – that the previous government signed off on the deal. This would put them at real risk of losing this massive oil bloc that has a 9.23bn barrel probable reserves estimate; if proven, that would mean that the bloc could increase Shell’s proven reserve by a third and add two thirds to Eni’s.