Malabu Oil urges court to stop FG from signing $13.5b project
• Global Witness flays Shell’s role in alleged $1. 1b bribe
Malabu Oil and Gas Limited yesterday asked the Federal High Court, Abuja to stop the Federal Government and six others from signing the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the $13.5 billion Zabazaba Deep Water Project.
The Zabazaba Deep water Project is located in the contentious Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL 245).The other defendants include, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, Nigerian Agip Exploration Company Limited, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, EFCC and Dan Etete.
Malabu Oil and Gas is also seeking for an order of interlocutory injunction to restrain the Federal Government and the minister from considering to revoke or revoke the re-allocation of OPL 245 granted it.
Mr. J.A. Achimugwu, who filed the suit on behalf of Malabu Oil and Gas, said it was triggered by media publications that the defendants were negotiating to sign the FID for the project in the second quarter of the year.
Justice John Tsoho, granted permission to Malabu to serve the writ of summons and other processes on Shell Nigeria Ultra-Deep Limited at No. 21 and 22 Marina Avenue, Lagos.
He adjourned the matter until May 18 for the hearing of the motion.In a related development, Global Witness, an international anti-corruption NGO has condemned Shell’s role in the $1.1 billion, which was allegedly used as bribe in the controversial OPL 245.
The NGO said in an email sent to The Guardian, yesterday that the sum equates to one and a half times what the United Nations Organisation said was needed to respond to the current famine crisis in Nigeria.
The Anti-Corruption Campaigns Director at Global Witness, Shauna Leven, said: “This is a huge scandal–it must trigger change. For too long the world’s most powerful and profitable oil companies have masqueraded as leaders of responsible business, while robbing countries of their most precious assets. We could save countless lives across the world if ordinary people were able to benefit from the wealth of their own natural resources.”
According to Leven, those responsible at Shell could go to jail for these decisions. The company and its individual decision makers in this case need to face justice. Law enforcement in Italy, Nigeria, the U.K, U.S, the Netherlands and Switzerland need to cooperate to ensure that this happens.
Leven said: “Over 30 major economies including the U.K., Canada, Norway, U.S. and all E.U. countries now have laws in place that require oil, gas and mining companies to disclose what they’re paying any government on a project-by-project basis.
Had these laws been in place at the time of the deal, Shell would have had to put these payments on public record. It is highly unlikely that they would have wanted to do that. Shining a light on corrupt deals like OPL 245 prevents multinational companies from scheming with greedy government officials to get rich at the expense of ordinary people.”
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