By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — Controversy over the disputed Oil Prospecting License, OPL, 245, took another dimension on yesterday, as son of late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, Mohammed, approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare him and a firm, Pecos Energy Ltd, as genuine owners of Malabu Oil & Gas Limited.
In the fresh suit marked FHC/ABJ/ CS/506/2017, the plaintiffs, prayed the court to restrain the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from continuing to treat OPL 245 as proceed of crime.
In the suit which has Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd as the 1st plaintiff, the litigants, further sought for an order stopping EFCC from interfering with their right to explore and prospect for petroleum in the area of OPL 245.
Cited as defendants in the suit were Mr Kweku Amafegha (described as an initial subscriber and director of Malabu), Munamuna Seidougha and Amaran Joseph (described as purported to be directors and allottees of Malabu).
The 4th to10th defendants in the suit were the Corporate Affairs Commission, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited, the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Department of Petroleum Resources.
OPL 245 has been subject of controversy and multi-dimensional investigation that has led to preferment of criminal charges against many oil giants, including Shell and Agip, in a case involving alleged $1.2billion fraud.
FG alleged that Abacha fraudulently awarded the disputed oil bloc to Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd against all known regulations, a process it said involved “high scale bribery and corruption by top management of the company and some government officials”.
It alleged that a former Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Mohammed Adoke, SAN, the Minister of Petroleum Resources under late General Sani Abacha, Mr. Dan Etete, an oil mogul, Aliyu Abubakar and Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, had sometime in 2000, corruptly received the aggregate sum of $801,000,000.00 (Eight hundred and one million Dollars) in relation to the grant of oil prospecting license in respect of OPL 245 from Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company, Nigeria Agip Exploration Ltd, and ENI SPA.
Aside Shell and Agip who are still laying claim to the controversial oil bloc, FG also cited four Italians, Ralph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujatti Stefeno, Burrafati Sebestiano and ENI SPA, as defendants in the suit marked CR/124/17 and dated February 28, pending before the high court.
However, Mohammed Abacha and his co-plaintiffs in the present action, while insisting they are the real owners of Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, denied being a part of the alleged fraudulent deal.
The plaintiffs are praying the court for a declaration that Mohammed and Pencos Energy Ltd (2nd and 3rd plaintiffs), jointly hold seventy percent shareholding in the equity of the 1st plaintiff (Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd).
Besides, they want among other things, “A declaration that the 2nd and 3rd plaintiffs have never divested themselves of their respective shoes in the equity of the 1st plaintiff and continue to be shareholders and Directors of the 1st plaintiff.
“A declaration that all the resolutions passed by the purported directors of the 1st plaintiff and all alterations made to the 1st plaintiff’s document in its original file at the 4th defendant’s office which affected and changed the shareholding structure of the 1st plaintiff from 1998 to 2010 being unauthorised, are illegal, null, void and of no effect.
“A declaration that forms CAC 2 and 7 (Statement of Shares Capital and Return of Allotment of Shares) dated 9th June, 2010 prepared and filed by one Ayo Ademola purporting to transfer the 2nd plaintiff’s 10,000,000 shares in the equity of the 1st plaintiff to one Seidougha Munamuna (2nd defendant), the 6,000,000 shares of one Kweku Amafagha (1st defendant) to Amaran Joseph (3rd defendant) and Hindu’s 4,000,000 shares to the same Amaran Joseph is illegal, null and void same having been prepared and filled are without the consent, knowledge and authority of the 2nd and 3rd plaintiffs.