Malabu Scandal: UK Court Rules In Favor Of Nigerian Government
British judge ruled on Friday that up to $85 million from the notorious Malabu oil deal should be returned to the Nigerian government. This is the first money to be successfully recovered from the $1.1 billion sales of the fantastically rich offshore oil block, OPL245, that has been mired in corruption allegations and legal trench warfare for years.
The sale, which was brokered by the then-government of Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, supposedly resolved a long-running contest for the block between oil giant Shell and shelf company Malabu, beneficially owned by former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete.
Mr. Etete effectively awarded the oil block to himself when he was oil minister in 1998, but only walked away with the money for it 13 years later after Shell and Italian oil company ENI paid the Nigerian government for the block.
The government paid $801.5 million to Malabu, but not before $215 million was restrained by the UK Commercial Court after an Etete *ssociate brought a case claiming their share.
The $85 million is what remains in the UK courts funds office after years of legal wrangling.