The Federal Government says that it is currently studying the judgement of the United Kingdom (UK) commercial Court that ruled that there was no evidence of fraud in the OPL 245 transaction between Nigeria and JP Morgan Chase Bank.
This was made known by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while responding to questions from State House Correspondents on the $1.7 billion suit against JP Morgan, at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the council chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mohammed who spoke after the meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, said the federal government’s lawyers will study the ruling and decide whether to appeal or not.
What the Minister of Information and Culture is saying
Mohammed in his reaction to the question on the judgement said, “The last question is about Malabu Oil. I also read the judgement. Malabu oil and I think, strangely enough, the judge said we were not able to establish that we lost $1.7 billion.
“But I also read further that the lawyer said that they are studying the judgement and they will take the appropriate step on whether to appeal or not.”
What you should know
- Recall that on June 14, a UK court had ruled against Nigeria in the $1.7 billion suit against JP Morgan Chase Bank over the transfer of proceeds from the sale of OPL 245.
- Judge Sara Cockerill of the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales Commercial Court held on Tuesday that the Nigerian government couldn’t show that it had been defrauded.
- The Federal Government had sued JP Morgan, alleging that the bank “ought to have known” that there was corruption and fraud in the transaction which saw Malabu sell its 100 per cent in OPL 245 to Shell and ENI for $1.1 billion.
- During a trial which lasted 6 weeks, Nigeria argued among other things that the bank acted negligently when it transferred $875 million between 2011 and 2013 from government accounts to Etete, who had been convicted of money laundering.
- The federal government sought $1.7 billion as damages including interest for what it identified as “glaring” red flags, including “overwhelming” evidence of fraud and stark warnings from its own compliance staff when it authorized the payments.
- Meanwhile, an Italian court had earlier in 2021, also dismissed all corruption charges in the OPL 245 deal, discharging and acquitting all the defendants.