CORRUPT NIGERIAN OIL DEAL LOOT TO BE DISTRIBUTED BY UK COURT
25TH MARCH 2014
Funds should be frozen instead, says anti-corruption group
Today the Court of Appeal will rule on dividing up the proceeds of the sale of corruptly awarded Nigerian oil block OPL 245. This huge concession was awarded in 1998 during the rule of the military dictator Sani Abacha to a company secretly owned by the then oil minister Dan Etete and Sani Abacha’s son Mohammed Abacha. Last week Mohammed Abacha was found by US authorities to have participated in the embezzling of billions of dollars from the Nigerian state. Dan Etete was convicted of money laundering in France in 2007.
The oil block was sold in 2012 to the multinational oil companies Shell and ENI for over a billion dollars with the Nigerian government acting as a “straw man”. Shell and ENI paid $1.1 billion to the Nigerian government, which then paid the same amount to Etete’s company, Malabu Oil & Gas. Documents seen by Global Witness show that over US$801 million of this money was later transferred to a further five anonymous companies with hidden owners, raising concerns about who truly benefitted from this deal.
The UK legal case is being fought between Malabu and a middleman involved in the deal who sued for US$200 million for his part in arranging negotiations. In July 2013, the court provisionally awarded him US$110.5 million, 8.5% of the money paid by Shell and ENI. Both Malabu and the middleman are attempting to appeal this outcome. An oral hearing is to be held todasy after which the case could see the US$200m paid out to the parties.
If as Shell and Eni have claimed, they purchased the oil block from the Nigerian Government, then the US$1.1 billion from the sale should have all been paid to the Nigerian Government’s “Federation Account”, as required under the constitution. The alternative (as claimed by Nigeria’s Attorney General Adoke, who was himself a broker of the deal), is that the Nigerian Government acted as an “obligor,” or as a conduit to pass the payment from Shell and Eni to Etete’s company Malabu. This latter scenario leaves the companies exposed as having purchased stolen goods and the Nigerian Government as having monetised an illegally expropriated state asset for a convicted felon.
For either scenario, the evidence suggests that Nigerian Government officials connived to divert funds from this lucrative deal away from the Nigerian people and into private bank accounts. Global Witness, together with other NGO’s have written to the Nigerian Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, urging her to take action to recover Nigerian state assets.
Investigations have been launched by UK’s Proceeds of Corruption Unit and last week Italian prosecutors in Milan were reported to also be investigating the deal. In Nigeria an investigation by a committee of the House of Representatives found that the oil deal was “contrary to the laws of Nigeria” and “ceded away our National Interest”. The House voted that “the Federal Government of Nigeria should cancel OPL 245”.
Global Witness believes that the substantial funds held in relation to this case by the London court should frozen pending the conclusion of investigations into these serious allegations. Global Witness director Simon Taylor said “It is disgraceful that the UK courts should be used as arbiters to carve up the loot from this highly suspicious and possibly illegal deal. This appears to be the equivalent of dividing up the proceeds from a bank robbery without considering the legitimacy of the funds in question.”
NOTES TO EDITOR:
The original case is Energy Venture Partners Versus Malabu Oil & Gas, Commercial court, Queen’s Bench Division, 2011-13. The case was brought by a broker who alleged that Etete failed to pay him for work he had done in obtaining a buyer for OPL245. Shell and Eni were not part of these proceedings. Energy Venture Partners sued for a US$200 million, a total of US$215 million was originally frozen in order to cover further costs.
The continuing Civil Appeals cases are: Malabu Oil and Gas Limited v Energy Venture Partners Limited and Energy Venture Partners Limited v Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, Case reference numbers A3/2013/2634 and A3/2013/2477.
Lady Justice Gloster of the UK High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Commercial Court ruled “I find as a fact that, from its incorporation and at all material times, Chief Etete had a substantial beneficial interest in Malabu”
In a US legal case the Honorable Bernard J. Fried described the Federal Government of Nigeria’s role in the deal as that of “the proverbial ‘straw man’”, who was “holding $1.1billion for ultimate payment to Malabu”. Order to Show Cause with temporary Restraining Order, “In the Matter of Arbitration between International Legal Consulting Limited and Malabu Oil and Gas Limited and J. P. Morgan Chase and Co and all of its subsidiaries and affiliates, including but not limited to JP Morgan Chase Bank, NA”, Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York,” Index no 651733/2011, 22 July 2011, p.10. Edwards, Angell, Plamer and Dodge on behalf of Malabu to Clifford Chance LLP, 15 July 2011.
For any queries, please contact:
Simon Taylor, Director, Global Witness firstname.lastname@example.org +44 7957 142 121
0PL 245:Abacha’s Ownership Claims Forced Shell,ENI to Avoid Dealing Directly With Malabu
By Danlami Nmodu
A British Court has revealed why oil giants Shell and ENI lately avoided doing deal directly with Malabu oil in the attempts to settle the OPL 245 controversy.Lady Justice Gloster said inter alia in the judgment of Royal Courts of Justice Strand, London, WC2A 2LL ,dated 17/07/2013 at that :
“Following the meeting on 15 November 2010, details also began to emerge of a lawsuit that had been filed by Mohammed Sani, the son of General Abacha, on 24 November 2010 against inter alia Malabu, its shareholders as shown on the register and Shell, in an attempt to obtain recognition of his shareholding in Malabu, and that he had commenced injunction proceedings in connection with the sale of the block. In his evidence in the ILC Arbitration, Mr Agaev, who was informed of this development by Shell, said of this development:
“The name of Chief Etete did not shine but the ghost of Sani Abacha’s reputation seemed likely to kill the deal. Moreover the legal risks around OPL 245 effectively doubled…”
Lady Justice Gloster said, “I conclude that it was probable that, as submitted by EVP, the Mohammed Abacha claims prompted Shell and ENI to rethink their willingness to be seen to deal with Malabu, which ultimately led to the transaction being structured in the form of two separate resolution agreements with the FGN. This avoided the need for either ENI or Shell to contract directly with Malabu, something that was emphasised in the later press release by ENI, in which it denied that it had entered into any direct transaction with Malabu.
The court recalled that “On 15 November 2010 a meeting was held at the offices of the Attorney General of Nigeria in Abuja. EVP was not invited to the meeting, and Mr Obi did not receive advance notice that it was going to happen. The meeting was attended by representatives of Shell, ENI/NAE, Malabu and the FGN. The representatives of Malabu who attended the meeting were Mr Munamuna, Mr Gbinigie and an external legal adviser, Dele Adesina. Neither Chief Etete nor Mr Agaev attended. Mr Armanna attended on behalf of ENI (and possibly also Mr Casula) and Mr Peter Robinson attended on behalf of Shell. Mr Obi found out about the meeting and what had been discussed at it, from communications and conversations with Mr Agaev (who had been informed about it by Chief Etete), and also from communications and discussions with Mr Descalzi of ENI.
“ I accept Mr Howard’s submission that on the evidence the likely catalyst for the meeting was Malabu’s precipitous and uncommercial letter rejecting the 30 October 2010 offer. It is likely that ENI and Shell had become exasperated by Chief Etete’s reaction and so sought the assistance of the Attorney General. I also accept that the SPA which had been negotiated between EVP and ENI/NAE was used as the basis for an effort to conclude the transaction, and that Chief Etete agreed on the phone in principle to accept a price of $1.3 billion after NAE had offered to increase the price by $40 million. The latter fact is supported by the fact that the figure of $1.3 billion was discussed at the meetings that followed in late November 2010. This was denied by Chief Etete in cross-examination, although he was unable to explain how it was that the price was increased by $40 million. Mr Gbinigie also denied in cross-examination that the SPA which had been negotiated between EVP and ENI/NAE or ENI’s offer of 30 October 2010 was discussed at the meeting on 15 November. I find this impossible to accept, given the necessary involvement of both Shell and ENI in the offer and a joint presence at the meeting.
“I am able to accept Mr Gbinigie’s evidence in general terms that, at the meeting, the Attorney General said that the FGN’s objectives were to settle the ICSID arbitration proceedings and finally to put the oil-field into operation; that a deal was essential; that he expected Malabu and Shell to compromise to get a deal done, without the disputes dragging on; and that his approach was to reach negotiated solutions to the conflict for the good of all. I am also prepared to accept that various solutions were discussed including: a joint venture between Malabu on the one hand, and SNUD with ENI on the other; Malabu taking OPL245 with a third party investor and refunding SNUD for any costs incurred in relation to the block; and the FGN allocating a different block to SNUD, and Malabu surrendering the block to the Government for cash. It was clear that there was discussion generally about how the settlement talks were to be progressed.
On the ownership of Malabu, the Justice Gloster said “It was common ground that the initial shareholders of Malabu were a Mohammed Sani (10 million shares), a Kweku Amafegha (6 million shares) and a Hassan Hindu (4 million shares). Chief Etete and Mr. Gbinigie insisted, when they gave their evidence, that they did not know whether Mohammed Sani was an alias for Mohammed Abacha, the son of General Sani Abacha; but other evidence demonstrated that Mohammed Sani was indeed Mohammed Abacha, the son of General Sani Abacha. In November 2010 injunction proceedings were brought by Mohammed Abacha in connection with the sale of the block, on the premise that his shareholding had been unlawfully removed from the share register. I was unable to accept Mr. Gbinigie’s evidence that, in the circumstances, he, as company secretary, did not know the identity of the principal shareholder and director of this newly incorporated company, which he had incorporated
“The evidence shows that Kweku Amafegha was widely reported to be an alias or front for Chief Etete. Chief Etete also accepted that, as he had conceded to the French Criminal Courts, “Omoni Amafegha” was an alias which he used. Chief Etete’s evidence was that he used this name when he went on “secret missions internationally” in order to disguise his identity. However, Chief Etete denied in cross-examination that he also used Kweku Amafegha as an alias. The other evidence relating to payment of the incorporation expenses also strongly suggested that Hassan Hindu was a nominee for, and/or an associate of, Chief Etete. I find as a fact that, from its incorporation and at all material times, Chief Etete had a substantial beneficial interest in Malabu.
“The award of the licence relating to OPL 245 was recorded in two letters from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. Reference was made in these letters to a letter of application by Malabu. Although no copy of the letter of application has ever been disclosed by Malabu, Chief Etete claimed in cross-examination that he had seen a copy of the letter of application. I was unable to accept this evidence. In the Federal Government of Nigeria’s (“FGN’s”) submissions to the House of Representatives in Nigeria (leading to a report in May 2003) it was stated that:
“Block 245 was allocated as a discretionary allocation under which the applicant would normally write to the minister applying for a block and listing willingness to comply with provisions and conditions that would be imposed, and giving information about the proposed methods for developing the block. There was no application letter or form from Malabu. In other words, contrary to the assertions of Malabu Oil and Gas, at no time did Malabu ever apply for the block, either through a letter, an application form, or any other way. Nonetheless, the minister, Chief Dan Etete, gave instructions for OPL245 to be allocated to Malabu. The Department of Petroleum Resources, in obedience to the minister, carried out these instructions. It was bound to do this. However, the process of allocation was flawed and the allocation lacked transparency and was unethical.
INVESTIGATION: THE FRAUD CALLED MALABU OIL & GAS (PART 1)
JUNE 29, 2012 PREMIUM TIMES
By Idris Akinbajo
Malabu Oil and Gas, the company into whose account the Federal Government paid N120billion ($801million) out of the intended N155bn($1.1bn), is a fraudulent company whose owners had been involved in several illegal manipulations of records at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), an ongoing PREMIUM TIMES investigations have revealed.
Investigations also revealed that in other to appease the interests of top public officials – including former and serving Presidents, a Vice President, and Ministers in successive governments who orchestrated various schemes to own a share of OPL 245, CONSIDERED ONE OF THE JUICEST OIL BLOCKS IN NIGERIA – the proprietors of Malabu manipulated company records, and created fictional board meetings to achieve their aims.
Several documents used at various periods of the transactions and available exclusively to PREMIUM TIMES, as well as sources involved in the transactions, show desperation by influential public officials to control OPL 245.
THE OIL BLOCK WHICH IS ESTIMATED TO CONTAIN NINE BILLION BARRELS OF CRUDE OIL AND LARGE GAS RESERVES is at present owned by Shell/ and ENI after both paid $1.1bn (N155bn) to Malabu oil and gas limited through the Federal Government.
This newspaper had reported how Malabu, whose principal, a former minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete (who has been convicted for money laundering in France), illegally obtained OPL 245; and how two multinational oil firms, Shell and ENI, paid $1.1bn through the Nigerian Government to Malabu in a secret and dubious transaction. Malabu has subsequently transferred the money to phony companies with dubious addresses believed to be fronts for government officials.
How it started
When Malabu was registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission on April 20, 1998, there were four directors on the board, with three of them as shareholders. The shareholders were Ahmed Muhammed Sani, a disguised name for Mohammed Abacha, son of late Head of State, Sani Abacha, (10million shares); Kweku Amafegha (the fictional character created by Mr. Etete) with 6 million shares; and Wabi Hassan (wife of Hassan Adamu, former Nigerian ambassador to the US) with 4million shares while a Mohammed Aliyu Jabu, whose identity could not be ascertained, served as non-shareholding director.
Sources knowledgeable with the company’s history told Mr. Hassan was instrumental to the naming of Malabu. Mr. Hassan, then Nigerian Ambassador to the US, and close ally of late Abacha, is a revered chief in Adamawa where he holds the title of Wakili Adamawa. Malabu is the name of a town in Adamawa State.
Nine days after it was registered, Malabu was awarded two oil blocks; OPL 245 and OPL 214, by Mr. Etete, who was then the minister of petroleum.
Two months after Malabu got the block, the unexpected happened. Sani Abacha, Nigeria’s dictator and Mohammed’s father died on June 8, 1998. Though sudden, the former’s death created an opportunity for Mr. Etete, as he figured the younger Abacha could be schemed out of the mouth-watering deal.
“Etete saw Abacha’s death as an opportunity to scheme out his son. He was very smart at scheming out people,” a source, very familiar with the deal said in describing the former Minister, a description which reflected repeatedly in Mr. Etete’s actions.
Scheming out Abacha
Abacha’s death had put his family in pandemonium. There was confusion around the country on who would succeed the dictator among the high ranking military chiefs, with Abdusalami Abubakar eventually emerging. Millions of Nigerians and pro-democracy groups were clamouring for the immediate swearing-in of Moshood Abiola, the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 election who was then in detention.
The Abacha’s were clearly losing out of the power game as their preferred choice for head of state and most senior military officer, Jeremiah Useni, was snubbed for Mr. Abubakar. Seeing that the Abacha’s were out in the Nigerian power game, Mr. Etete decided it was time to scheme out Mohammed from Malabu.
In July 1998, the CAC received a letter from Rasky Gbinigie, the lawyer appointed as company secretary by Mr. Etete, announcing that Malabu held a meeting of its Board of Directors on June 2, and that Mr. Mohammed apart from agreeing to a 60 per cent reduction of his shares in Malabu also agreed to resign as a director of the company. The new majority shareholder was to be Mr. Amafegha.
On July 29, 1998, the CAC approved the new ownership structure of Malabu as follows: Mr. Amafegha, 10 million shares; Mohammed, 4million; and Mr. Hassan, 6million. Mr. Jabu emerged as managing director of the company.
Multiple sources knowledgeable about the transaction say such a board meeting never held and was just a scheme by Mr. Etete. Mohammed also confirmed that the meeting never held in a petition his counsel, Aliyu Umar, wrote to the EFCC on January 20, 2012.
Abacha removed, Hassan settled
Seven months after Mohammed Abacha was partially schemed out of the deal, Mr. Etete delivered the killer punch. Nigerians were preparing for elections and the Abacha family was in total disarray. Everybody wanted them dealt with. It was time for Mr. Etete to finally remove the Abacha’s from the picture. Also, since Nigeria was moving towards democracy and possible transparency in governance, the fictional character, Mr. Amafegha, also had to be dispensed with.
On January 21, 1999, Mr. Gbinigie, who had assumed the role of hatchet man for Mr. Etete, filed an amendment at the CAC. The board of Malabu had met on November 27, 1998, Mr. Gbinigie told the CAC. A new ownership structure had emerged. The new owners of Malabu were Mr. Jabu, 14 million shares; and Seidougha Munamuna, a Port-Harcourt-based close relative of Mr. Etete, 6 million shares.
The resolution was silent on how Mohammed Abacha, who before then was the largest shareholder, suddenly had no share; and also on Mr. Hassan. It was equally silent on the non-existent Mr. Amafegha.
PREMIUM TIMES investigations reveal that the meeting never held. Like the previous one, it was cooked up by Mr. Etete working in concert with Mr. Gbinigie.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission also noted in its report on the investigations that “despite these changes, there is no evidence to indicate that Mohammed Sani (Abacha) and Hassan Hindu have resigned their appointment or have transferred their shares.” A search report by the law firm of Wali, Uwais and Co., also revealed a similar finding.
Mr. Gbinigie, the lawyer behind the manipulations would not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ enquiry. His secretary, and other staff at his No. 30 Catholic Mission Street, Lagos, office would not say anything on the deal. They also refused to provide Mr. Gbinigie’s telephone number, saying the lawyer was not around.
“Just write what you want to find out about, and your contact details. He (Mr. Gbinigie) will call you when he is around,” his secretary who refused to disclose her name, or give her own telephone number said. Two weeks after our visit, Mr. Gbinigie is yet to respond to us.
Mr. Etete could also not be reached. Malabu’s corporate office could not be traced. All the office addresses on its correspondences turned out to be fake. The company is not known to have any office or personnel beyond Messrs. Etete and Gbinigie. A source said the former petroleum minister runs the company and churns out the manipulation from his living in his Victoria Garden City apartment in Victoria Island, Lagos.
With the Abacha’s out of the way, and the advent of democracy, Malabu entered its new phase, where Nigeria’s most senior elected officials joined the scramble for OPL 245.
ABACHA’S SON, ETETE FIGHT OVER MALABU OIL’S N34.4B CASH
Posted by: Yusuf Alli in Featured, The Nation, News July 29, 2013
The last may not have been heard of the controversial Malabu oil deal. Mohammed Sani, one of the children of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, is locked in a battle with a firm owned by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Dan Etete, over N34.4billion ($215m) which accrued from the sale of Oil Block 245 to Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited and Shell Exploration and Production Company Limited.
The row between Mohammed Sani and Etete, who was a minister in the Gen. Abacha, has underscored the personal intrigues behind Malabu oil deal and how it is rubbing off on the nation.
The $215million is, however, stuck in an Escrow Account with JP Morgan Chase.
The Federal Government had on April 29, 1998 granted an Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL 245) for oil block 245(Block 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas, owned by Etete.
But on 30th March 2001, Malabu and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited (SNUD) entered into a Farm-in Agreement and a Deed of Assignment under which Malabu assigned 40 per cent equity interest in OPL 245 to SNUD.
The Federal Government on 2nd July 2001 revoked OPL 245 and by a letter dated the 23rd May 2002, awarded the oil block to SNUD on the basis of a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) following a competitive bid with another international oil company – on the invitation of the Federal Government.
Based on the re-award of the oil block, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) December 22, 2003, executed a PSC with SNUD ( hereinafter referred to as the 2003 PSC ) GRANTING SNUD THE RIGHT TO EXCLUSIVELY OPERATE BLOCK 245 AS CONTRACTOR FOR A TERM OF 30 YEARS.
The revocation of the oil block led to various law suits involving FGN, Malabu, and SNUD.
According to records, the Federal Government on 30th November 2006, executed a settlement agreement with Malabu “without admission of liability for any alleged wrongful, unlawful, unjust or any like conduct agreed to re-allocate Block 245 to Malabu in consideration of Malabu discharging and releasing the FGN from all claims and suits filed by Malabu against the FGN in connection with the revocation of Malabu’s interest on 2nd July 2001.”
The out-of-court settlement letter, dated December 2, 2006 was signed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Edmund Daukoru.
Following international arbitration, the Federal Government agreed to pay $1.092, 040,000 to Malabu Oil and Gas in full and final settlement of any and all claims, interests or rights relating to or in connection with Block 245.
The cash was paid into a depository account with J.P Morgan Chase Bank NA, managed from London.
But following issues raised by Abacha’s son, Malabu Oil and Gas could only access $801, 092, 000. 000 of the $1.092.040.000 billion.
The two parties (Mohammed Sani Abacha and Malabu Oil and Gas) had taken their dispute over $215million to the Federal Government.
The government may not dabble in the cash row, The Nation learnt yesterday.
A source said: “The $215million in dispute is in an Escrow Account, it is not the business of the government to settle personal disputes.
“It is a sad development, in view of the challenges the nation had experienced during the military regime between 1994 and 1998.
“What the government did in 2006 was only to resolve the dispute over OPL 245 through international arbitration or else we will not be able to explore the oil. We acted in the best interest of the economy because OPL 245 is important.
“This row is purely a personal matter which the parties can resolve in court. But the cash is in an Escrow Account with JP Morgan Chase.
“You can see how personal interests rub off on the nation’s economy. This is why a systemic review is being done.”
The details of the row between Abacha’s son and Etete’s firm are captured in some documents obtained by our correspondent.
In a letter to the Federal Government, through his counsel, A.A. Umar, the son of the late Head of State alleged “unauthorised alterations of Malabu Oil and Gas Limited ownership structure.”
The letter said Pecos Energy and Sani “have discovered that, without their consent or knowledge, one Mr. Dan Etete has disposed of the interest of Our Clients to Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited and Shell Exploration and Production Company Limited”.
“The above named companies bought from Mr. Dan Etete an oil block known as OPL 245 for the sum of $1.3 billion US Dollars (One Billion, three hundred million U.S Dollars). Our clients’ investigation further reveals that Mr. Dan Etete has already received the sum of $801, 092, 000. 000 (Eight hundred and one million, ninety two thousand U.S Dollars) and will receive the balance as soon as a consulting dispute with International Legal Consulting Limited is settled by a sole arbitrator in London.
“It is our clients’ view and it is also our advice that, you be informed of this development so as to enable you intervene and solve this matter amicably between the parties. It is our view that the consequences of litigating this matter will be negative to the image of our great country
“On behalf of Our Clients, we ask you once more to intervene and call a meeting of all the disputing parties with a view to achieving a just and reasonable settlement.”
But a letter by James Maton of a law firm in the UK, Edwards Angell Palmer and Dodge for Malabu Oil and Gas Limited, said Energy Venture Partners Ltd (EVPL) “alleged that it is entitled to US$200 million from Malabu by reason of an oral variation to an Agreement entered into between Malabu and EVPL in January 2010 under which EVPL was appointed to find buyers for Oil Production Licence 245.
“It is said by EVPL that this fee is payable as a result of the separate resolution agreements entered into on 29 April 2011 between (a) FGN, NAE and SNEPCO, and others; (b) FGN and Malabu; and terms of settlement between the Malabu and the Shell companies. Malabu considers the claim to have no merit whatsoever.
“Malabu understands that, as a result of the resolution between FGN, NAE and SNEPCO, the FGN holds US$1,092,040,000 in a depository account with J.P Morgan Chase Bank NA, managed from London. It also understands that FGN intends to pay that sum to
Malabu as payment of the settlement sum under the Resolution Agreement (and indeed has issued various payment instructions)
“EVPL has obtained a freezing injunction in England in support of its claim. Initially, that freezing injunction purported to freeze the entire US$1,092,040,000 billion held in the FGN’s depository account with JP Morgan.
“As a result of a hearing on Monday 18 July, the injunction was varied with the effect that payment to Malabu was permitted, provided that US$215 million of the sums owing to Malabu were paid into court. The payment into court will discharge the injunction.
“As a result, and in part satisfaction of FGN’s obligations under the settlement, Malabu has asked the FGB to pay US$215 million into court, with US$801,540,000 being paid to Malabu. That, Malabu understands, will leave about US$75.5 million in the depository account (being an amount to Malabu under the resolution agreement).
“Malabu is seeking to obtain an Order in the proceedings that the US$215 million is released from court and paid to it, on the basis that EVPL has no good arguable case and made serious non-disclosures to the court when obtaining the injunction.”
In a June 3, 2013 separate letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, Malabu Oil and Gas insisted on its right to the $215million.
The letter obtained from a source close to the firm said in part: “We send your Excellency our sincere compliments and thank you for providing the environment and inspiration for a new and dynamic Nigeria through your transformation agenda.
May we also use this medium to once again express our gratitude to your administration for being able to resolve the issues concerning our oil block OPL 245.
“Your Excellency will recall that the Federal Government of Nigeria and Malabu Oil and Gas Limited executed the “BLOCK 245 MALABU RESOLUTION AGREEMENT” of the one Part, Federal Government of Nigeria and Shell executed “BLOCK SNUD RESOLUTION AGREEMENT” on the Second Part, Federal Government of Nigeria, Shell Nigeria Agip Exploration and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation executed “BLOCK 245 RESOLUTION AGREEMENT” on the third Part. All the agreements were execute din April 2011 to formally bring all issues in dispute concerning OPL 245 to a close.
“Your Excellency will recall that by our letter to you dated 17 June 2011, we sought your approval to authorize the Federal Ministry of Finance to direct J.P Morgan Chase (“the Escrow Agents”) to pay the moneys due to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited under the Resolution Agreements in the sum of US$1,092,040,00 (One billion, ninety-two million and forty thousand US dollars) by wire transfer direct to Malabu’s designated accounts in Nigeria.
“Your Excellency graciously granted the said approval. However, before the Federal Ministry of Finance could carry out the said directives, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited and J.P Morgan Chase were served with two freezing (injunctive) orders from the High Court of Justice in England on the Application of: ENERGY VENTURE PARTNERS LIMITED (a British Virgin Island Company) which sued Malabu Oil and Gas Limited for the sum of US$ 200, 000, 000 (Two hundred million US dollars) together with damages and cost of US$15,000,000 (Fifteen million US dollars) and;
International Legal Consulting Limited (a Russian company) which commenced an Arbitration proceedings against Malabu Oil and Gas Limited at the London Court of International Arbitration suing for US$75,000,000 (Seventy-five million dollars).
OPL 245: MALABU OIL DRAGS HOUSE TO COURT OVER FEB. 18 RESOLUTION
Posted By: THEWILL_Posted date: June 03, 2014
… Seeks N2bn Damages
BEVERLY HILLS, CA, June 02, (THEWILL) – Malabu Oil and Gas Limited Monday began moves to nullify the February 18 House of Representatives resolution on Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 in which it has an interest.
The company asked a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to set aside the House resolution directing the Federal Government to cancel the OPL 245 transaction in which the company is involved.
The company is also seeking the payment of N2billion as damages by the House of Representatives and other defendants in the suit “for the stress and the psychological trauma” it allegedly underwent because of the defendants’ “unlawful interference” in the deal.
According to court papers seen by THEWILL, Malabu’s counsel, Otunba Femi Fasawe, who filed the application on behalf of the oil and gas company, asked the court to set aside the resolution on the grounds that the House of Representatives lacked the power to determine the ownership structure of the OPL 245 deal, as it did in the said resolution.
The House resolution followed the investigation it carried out on the circumstances surrounding the dispute over the disposition of OPL 245 which involved the company, the Federal Government, Shell Nigeria Exploration, Production Company Limited and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited.
According to the court papers, based on the report of Mr. Leo Ogor-led ad hoc committee, the House on February 18, among other resolutions, gave 50 per cent shareholding of Malabu to Mohammed Abacha, son of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha. The House of Representatives was also said to have, in the said resolution, declared 30 per cent shares of the company for Kekwu Amafegba (Dan Etete) and the remaining 20 per cent for Pecos Energy Ltd. The House of Representatives was also said to have directed the Federal Government to cancel the OPL 245 transaction.
But Malabu had in a suit filed on its behalf by Mr. M. A Mogaji (SAN) on April 17 argued that the House of Representatives’ resolution on its ownership structure was illegal and unconstitutional.
Maintaining that it was only a court of law that was empowered by the constitution to determine the ownership structure of a company, Malabu asked the court to declare that “the decision and determination” of the House of Representatives was unconstitutional because it amounted to “a piece of legislative judgment and a usurpation of the powers of the judiciary under section 6 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The company also asked the court to declare that not withstanding sections 88 and 89 of the constitution, the House of Representatives lacks the powers to pass any resolution interpreting, canceling and/or deciding legality or otherwise of the contractual agreements between the parties in the transaction.
It therefore sought “an order setting aside the decision, determination and/or purported resolution HR. 111 of the House of Representatives of Tuesday, February 18, 2014” and another order of perpetual injunction from further interfering in the transaction illegally.
Listed as defendants in the suit are the House of Representatives; the Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, and the Clerk of the House. Other defendants are the chairman of the House ad hoc committee which investigated the OPL 245 deal, Mr. Leo Ogor, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN).
However, the court could not proceed with the case when it came up for hearing Monday because two lawyers claimed they were representing Malabu Oil as presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed adjourned the matter to July 8 to enable the plaintiff resolve the representation dispute .
9-2-2015 ‘NIGERIA’S OIL PRODUCTION MAY RISE BY 297,000BPD IN TWO YEARS’ – ‘DOMESTIC GAS SUPPLY TO HIT 80MMSCFPD THIS YEAR’
BARRING any unforeseen circumstance, Nigeria’s oil production capacity may increase by about 297,000 barrels per day (bpd) between now and 2017, going by indications from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The nation, which at present produces about 2,037 million barrels per day (bpd), is expected to get additional 40,000bpd in 2015, 57,000bpd in 2016 and 200,000bpd in 2017 (totalling 297,000bpd) from new projects from the oil multinationals like ExxonMobil and Total.
The Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), an arm of the NNPC, Jonathan Okehs, in a New Year goodwill message to members of staff, and obtained by The Guardian yesterday, said despite the dire security situation in the Chad Basin area, NAPIMS, through Frontier Exploration Services (FES), has continued to explore the frontier areas of Nigeria to increase oil and gas reserves.
He also raised optimism that the domestic gas market will record tremendous growth, as gas supply is expected to increase to over 80 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) by the first quarter of 2015.
He said: “NAPIMS has also continued to explore for new opportunities to increase our reserve base and daily production. Under the Production Sharing Contract (PSC), new green fields were discovered by some of our Partners like Newcross in OPL 283 while some others have already commenced production. Other projects such as Ofon Phase 2 are near completion with expected production of 40,000 bpd by Q4 of 2015.
“In July 2014, we commissioned the multi-billion dollar Escravos Gas-to-liquid (EGTC) plant. This created over 1,500 jobs with about $4 billion projected income to the economy. In August 2014, the multi-billion dollar Bonga North Deepwater Project dropped its first oil and has added 50,000bpd to our national crude production.”
In pursuit of the Federal Government’s gas to power agenda, Okehs said the corporation has maintained gas supply of three billion standard cubic feet per day (bscfd) to the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) and between 750-800mmscfd to the domestic market.
“We also ensured the supply of gas to Independent Power Plants thus supporting stable power supply to Nigerians and reducing gas flares. The latest gas project, the Alakiri AG solution, being developed by SPDC joint venture is currently supplying 45mmscfd to the domestic market and will increase to over 80mmscfd by the first quarter of 2015,” he added.
THIS IS ABSURD FOR AN INDIVIDUAL TO GET PAID A WHOPPING ONE BILLION US DOLLARS (200 BILLION NAIRA WHICH IS OVER THREE YEARS OR FORTY MONTHS ALLOCATION FOR EDO STATE AT FIVE BILLION NAIRA MONTHLY) FOR AN OIL BLOC HE DID NOT INVEST A DIME ON.
JUST BECAUSE IT WAS FRAUDULENTLY ALLOCATED TO HIS FRAUDULENTLY REGISTERED AND ACCREDITED OIL COMPANY WHICH HAS NEVER EVER DRILLED A SINGLE DROP OF PALM OIL TALKLESS OF CRUDE OIL IN THE ENTIRE NINE DAYS OF ITS CORPORATE AFFAIRS REGISTRATION AND EXISTENCE AND IS NOT EVEN WORTH ITS WORTH ON PAPER. YET HE WENT TO COURT TO MAKE CLAIMS AND DAMAGES ON BEHALF OF IT.
IMAGINE CLAIMING LEGAL DAMAGES OVER A “FAKE CONTRACT” THAT WAS AWARDED TO A FAKE COMPANY THAT CANNOT FULFILL THE FAKE CONTRACT. IMAGINE THAT!
YET THEY ARE HOPING TO INCREASE THE OIL PRODUCTION CAPACITY BY 50% IN THE NEXT TWO YEARS AND CONSEQUENTLY INCREASE THE POLLUTION AND POVERTY IN OUR OIL PRODUCING COMMUNITIES BY 500%.
NO PROBLEM LET US SEE IF THE INTERNATIONAL COURTS WILL LET IT BE…
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! IF WE FOLD OUR ARMS AND DO NOTHING TODAY ABOUT THIS LIKE OUR FATHERS DID NOTHING ABOUT IT YESTERDAY; TOMORROW OUR CHILDREN WILL BOTH SUFFER MORE THAN WE ARE DOING TODAY AND CURSE US FOR KNOWING ABOUT IT AND DOING NOTHING ABOUT IT.