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$13.5bn Malabu Oil Deal: Failure to Serve Notices of Hearing Stalls Proceedings


Failure to serve notices of hearing on counsel representing other parties stalled proceedings into various applications bothering on the rightful ownership of Nigeria’s oil block, the Oil Prospecting License 245.
When the matter came up Monday before Justice John Tsoho, counsel to the son of former military dictator, Sani Abacha, requested an adjournment of the matter to allow for service of hearing notices on the first, second, third, sixth and seventh defendants.
Mohammed Abacha had approached the court to stop the sale of a $13.5bn deep water project located in the controversial oil block, OPL 245.
But when the matter was called Monday, Abacha’s counsel, Reuben Atabo, noted that several adjournments had been granted on the matter, he however craved the indulgence of the court for a further postponement of the case, on the grounds that the defendants may not have been informed of the December 4 date for hearing of respondents briefs.
“To allow for fair hearing, a further adjournment should be granted,” Atabo pleaded.
The case was subsequently adjourned till February 13, 2018 .
The OPL 245, regarded as one of Africa’s richest oil blocks with an estimated 9 billion barrels of crude, was controversially awarded to Malabu in 1998 by the then Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete, who partly owned the company through a fictional character, Kwekwu Amafegha.
The block was controversially sold to oil giants, Shell and ENI, in 2011 with a large chunk of the $1.1bn paid ending up in private pockets.

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