Oil majors Shell and Eni have asked the Nigerian court to withdraw the order it issued last month regarding the forfeiture of assets and transfer of operations of their OPL 245 oil field, which is involved in the Malabu scandal.
Royal Dutch Shell in a court filling, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), �misrepresented material facts in obtaining the ex-parte order and it is in the interest of justice that the order be discharged.�
The present case is the most recent episode of a series of inquiries (including inquiries by Dutch and Italian authorities) related to the purchase of the OPL 245 oil block.
According to court papers seen in January, the commission is investigating if the purchase was an �act of conspiracy, bribery, official corruption and money laundering�.
Indeed, back in 2011, Shell and Eni paid about $1.3 billion into the government account in London to acquire the OPL 245 block. However, more than 70% of the funds were then controversially transferred into the accounts of Malabu, a company controlled by Dan Etete, who was the petroleum minister from 1995 to 1998.
The controversial block is considered the largest oil block in Africa with over 9 billion barrels of crude. It is located in Niger Delta.