Malabu Deal: Court Returns Opl 245 To Shell, Eni

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Justice John Tsoho of a federal high court, sitting in Abuja has reversed the interim order of forfeiture granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in respect of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to the federal government.
The court in its earlier order took over the oil block from Shell and Eni.
The court gave the forfeiture order on January 26 based on a motion ex-parte filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, retrieving the ownership of the oil block from the multinational companies.
Followong that order, Shell and Eni approached the court with an application challenging the ruling.
They contended that the rights of parties to fair hearing was not followed before the ruling was reached.
They also prayed that the chairman of the EFCC does not have the power to institute such case.
They therefore, prayed the court to reverse the order, and allow the parties address the issue, legally.
In his ruling, Justice Tsoho held that the order of forfeiture ought not to have been granted the EFCC boss in the first instance because he did not meet the required conditions to enjoy such forfeiture order.
The court agreed with the two oil companies that there was no case of tracing of assets or attachment before the EFCC boss rushed to the court to apply and secured the order for forfeiture as part of the condition precedent.
The court also held that the EFCC chairman was not the proper person that can invoke court jurisdiction for temporary order of forfeiture and that the subject matter, OPL 245 being an oil block is a tangible property not movable.
“I have taken a critical look into the processes filed and submissions by counsel to parties in the matter and I have come to the conclusion that the chairman of EFCC failed to meet conditions that can enable him enjoy order of temporary forfeiture.
“In effect, the order of temporary forfeiture of January 26, 2017 granted on the application of the EFCC Chairman is hereby set aside and vacated.
“With the setting aside of the order of the temporary forfeiture, proceedings in respect of this matter here comes to an end” the judge said.

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