Nairametrics| A division of a Federal High Court in Abuja has reversed its ruling in January granting the EFCC powers to seize OPL 245 and ceding temporary operations to the Federal Government. OPL 245 is currently embroiled in an alleged corruption scandal (Malabu) with the EFCC investigating whether the sale of the asset to Shell & Eni was done illegally. Interestingly, the decision to reverse the court decision made in January was made by the same Judge.

Here is a summary of the decision;

  • In January, Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, granted the order following an ex-parte motion filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) giving the EFCC powers to seize OPL 245 oil block and allowing the government powers to takeover operations of the oil block pending determination of court proceedings
  • Oil companies Shell and Eni had filed motions to dispute claiming EFCC conducted a gross abuse of process and an abuse of power to get a court order asking for the forfeiture
  • The same courts and same Judge, Justice John Tsoho reversed his earlier decision explaining that “The chairman of the EFCC failed to meet the precondition for making an application for interim attachment of properties. So the application as such was irregular and the order granted on its basis ought to be discharged.”

Short background of the case

  • Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete awarded OPL 245 to a company called Malabu Oil and Gas in 1998.
  • He apparently owns shares in the company which is allegedly an abuse of process and power
  • After a long drawn battle, he eventually secured the asset and sold it to Shell and Eni in 2011 for $1.3 billion.
  • The EFCC alleges corruption, conspiracy and money laundering in the process leading to the sale.
  • An Italian court accused former President Jonathan and former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Madueke of collecting a kick back of $466 million to facilitate the deal. Jonathan was president in 2011 when the deal was consummated.
  • Also accused was former Minister of Justice at the time, Mr Mohammed Adoke



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  1. Your report has broken what I consider a important rule. In the area where you are not an expert, seek the counsel of an expert. The title and twist suggested the same judge “overturns” himself! and created uncertainty!!!! But if you had sought clarity you may have known the following. Firstly, application made “exparte” to a court means only the party that made that application was heard by the court. Secondly, a court that granted an “exparte”application can discharge that application for irregularities.

    Your assertion that “the same courts and same Judge, Justice John Tsoho reversed his earlier decision” is misleading.

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