Journalism of Courage

$1.1bn  Malabu oil deal: We’re still studying UK court judgment- FG

The Nigerian government in the judgment lost $1.7 billion claims against JP Morgan Chase Bank over the transfer of proceeds from the sale of OPL 245 in 2011.

The  Federal Government said on Wednesday that it was studying a United Kingdom commercial court judgment that there is no evidence of fraud in the OPL 245 transaction between Nigeria and JP Morgan Chase Bank.

The Minister of information and culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this while responding to questions from State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential, Villa, said the government’s lawyers will study the ruling and decide whether to appeal or not.

Persecondnews recalls that the Commercial Court of England and Wales on June 14, 2022, ruled in Case No. CL-2017-000730 as contained in its 137-page judgment.

The Nigerian government in the judgment lost $1.7 billion claims against JP Morgan Chase Bank over the transfer of proceeds from the sale of OPL 245 in 2011.

The government had contended that the contract awarded to a former Petroleum Minister, Chief Dan Etete, to explore the deep waters off the Gulf of Guinea was corrupt, 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.

Lawyers to the government alleged that the bank ignored “glaring” red flags, including “overwhelming” evidence of fraud and stark warnings from its own compliance staff when it authorized the payments.

Commenting on the judgment, Mohammed said: “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 judgment and they will take the appropriate step on whether to appeal or not.”

Meanwhile, the Council has approved the enactment of the Federal Fire and Rescue Service Establishment Bill 2022.

Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola, who made the disclosure while speaking on resolutions reached at FEC meeting, said the new proposed bill is meant to replace the old law establishing the Fire Service, which has been in existence for 60 years.

“The Federal Executive Council today approved the repeal of the 60 year old Fire Service Act Cap F29, LFN 2004 and in its stead, the council approved the enactment of the Federal Fire and Rescue Service Establishment Act 2022, which is meant to bring into currency the operations and professionalism of the Federal Fire Service as it delivers its services to Nigerians.

“The Attorney General was required to process and present to the National Assembly  for review and ultimate passage and we expect that the law, when eventually passed and approved by the President will help in improving the capability and capacity of the Federal fire Service,” he said.

The Council also approved N23.9 billion for the procurement of equipment for airports across the country.

Information Minister, who briefed on behalf of Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Aviation Minister, said the equipment to be procured include radio communication system for some control towers and instrument landing systems for some airports.

He said: “The Minister of Aviation presented two memos, one was for the award of contract for the upgrade of twelve airports tower voice communication and control system radio for twelve airports located in Akure, Benin, Calabar, Ibadan, Ilorin, Jos, Minna, Owerri, Sokoto, Yola, Kaduna and Enugu.

“The contract was for the sum of N9.988 billion with a completion period of 13 months. As you are aware, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency NAMA has a statutory mandate to enhance safety and security of the Nigerian airspace.

“It is in line with this that it sought to upgrade 12 air control towers voice and communication control system.”

Mohammed said the communication tower had to be upgraded because the ones currently in use have become old and also to enhance better performance in the 12 airports in conformity with technological advancement and aviation industry’s best practices.

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