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By Nwafor Sunday
Christopher Butcher, a UK High Court Judge has dismissed Nigeria’s $1b suit against Shell and Eni, noting that the court does not have jurisdiction to hear the claim.
Disclosing this on Friday, Barnaby Pace, a journalist and oil campaigner who monitored the sitting, according to TheCable, said Nigeria was also denied permission to appeal against the judgment
In his written decision, the judge said the English case has both the same essential facts and parties as a parallel proceeding in Italy also brought by the Nigerian government over the Malabu deal.
Recall that Shell and Eni had seek to stop Nigeria in $1 billion UK lawsuit.The two oil giants have asked court to decline jurisdiction under article 29 of the recast Brussels Regulation, as the Italian case against the companies is still ongoing.
About the Malabu scandal
The Malabu scandal involved the transfer of about $1.1 billion by Shell and ENI through the Nigerian government to accounts controlled by a former Nigerian petroleum minister, Dan Etete.
From accounts controlled by Mr Etete, about half the money ($520 million) went to accounts of companies controlled by Aliyu, popularly known in Nigeria as the owner of AA oil.
Anti-corruption investigators and activists suspect he fronted for top officials of the Jonathan administration as well of officials of Shell and ENI.
The transaction was authorised in 2011 by Mr Jonathan through some of his cabinet ministers and the money was payment for OPL 245, one of Nigeria’s richest oil blocks.
Although Shell and ENI initially claimed they did not know the money would end up with Mr Etete and his cronies, evidence has shown that claim to be false.
Shell, Eni, Mr Etete, Mr Aliyu and several officials of the oil firms are being prosecuted in Italy for their roles in the scandal.
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