Hearing On Malabu Oilfield Corruption Case Set For June 18
Remember the disputed OPL 245? The case relates to a purchase of the offshore OPL 245 oilfield in Nigeria by oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and Eni in 2011.
At the core of the case is a $1.3 billion alleged bribe payment from Shell and Eni to secure the oil block from Malabu Oil and Gas, allegedly controlled by former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete.
The case has been ongoing since 2016 and a court has now set June 18 for hearing.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC said on Thursday in a statement that the defendants are accused of being part of a scheme to defraud the government of 1.1 billion naira.
At the hearing, defendants would now be formally arraigned including former attorney general, ex-ministers of justice and various senior managers, both current and former, from Shell and Eni.
Both Eni and Shell have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in relation to the deal, which is also being investigated in Italy and the Netherlands, where Eni and Shell are respectively based.
The court case has been repeatedly delayed as defendants have failed to appear for hearings.
The government “is still working hard to ensure the presence of the defendants in court” but requested the adjournment as it tries to secure the extradition from overseas of some of those charged, the EFCC said.
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