- Malabu: Court Sets Hearing for June 18
A court has set the date for the hearing over a disputed 2011 oilfield deal for June 18, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said on Thursday, part of a string of international corruption probes into the purchase.
The case relates to a purchase of the offshore OPL 245 oilfield in Nigeria by oil majors, Royal Dutch Shell and Eni, in 2011, according to Reuters.
At the core of the case is a $1.3bn payment from Shell and Eni to secure the block from Malabu Oil and Gas, allegedly controlled by a former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum, Chief Dan Etete.
The Nigerian government has also filed a claim in Britain against JPMorgan Chase over its alleged involvement in the deal.
The EFCC said in its Thursday statement that the defendants were accused of being part of a scheme to defraud the government of N1.1bn.
The court case is now awaiting the arraignment of the defendants, including a former attorney general, ex-ministers of justice and oil, and various senior managers, current and former, from Shell and Eni, the EFCC said.
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 Nigerian 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.