OPL 245: We are expecting $200m refund from The Netherlands, Switzerland, says Malami

OPL 245: We are expecting $200m refund from The Netherlands, Switzerland, says Malami

Abubakar Malami, minister of justice and attorney-general of the federation, says Nigeria is expecting the return of $200 million from The Netherlands and Switzerland from the OPL 245 Malabu Oil deal.

According to NAN, Malami stated this at a capacity building workshop and interactive session with judiciary correspondents on Tuesday.

On Monday, a consortium of international and local anti-corruption groups had asked the minister to make full disclosure on the assets recovered from the OPL 245 deal.

The Malabu Oil deal, which has resulted in a court case over allegations of bribery and corruption, saw prosecutors make their closing arguments on July 21, while seeking jail term for all those involved.

The case dates back to 2011, when Shell and Eni acquired the massively rich OPL 245 for over $1.3 billion — paying $1.1 billion to take over 100 percent of Malabu’s interest and $210 million to the federal government as signature bonus.

Speaking at the event on Tuesday, the attorney-general also highlighted some achievements of the ministry in the past one year, noting that in line with the anti-corruption fight of the present administration, the sum of $62 billion dollars in arrears from oil companies have been recovered as part of the production sharing agreement (PSA).

“Also recovered within the period is the sum of $311 million from the US and New Jersey in the third phase of the Abacha loot, and another $6.3 million Abacha loot from the Republic of Northern Island,” he said.

Malami added that the money has been paid into the federal government treasury for utility developments such as the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Kano-Abuja expressway and the Second Niger Bridge, in line with agreement reached with the foreign partners.

He further disclosed that
over N685 million was recovered through the help of whistle blowers within the last one year, while N500 million was recovered from forfeited vessels, trucks, and barges.

According to the minister, a legal framework introduced by the ministry has helped to raise stamp duty collection from N22 billion over the years to N66 billion within the last six months of the amendment of the act.

He said some bills which are currently before the national assembly, including the electronic evidence act, digital management act, and electronic banking act, will stimulate the economy when passed into law.

“There are several other acts to regulate emerging digital financial subsector of the economy,” he said.

“Some of these acts will provide for national digital certification authority that will regulate issuance and processing of public and private electronic key validations.

“The expected bills will prepare Nigeria for emerging realities relating to digital cash, bitcom and e-currency.”

In his remarks, Dayo Apata, the solicitor-general of the federation and permanent secretary in the ministry, said effective coverage of the justice sector will help prevent injustice in the country.

“This should be done by shining the spotlight on the actions of judges, lawyers and other stakeholders in the justice system,” he said, explaining that the growing interest by the public in what the judiciary sector does necessitated the workshop.

“The public is interested in how the sector handles criminal cases, election litigations, fight against corruption, among others. The above underscores the importance of the media in creating the much-needed awareness that will help shape public opinion and perception,” he added.

“There are also the complaints of sensational reporting, inaccurate presentation of facts or mutilation of context, contempt of court, media trials, among others.

“Therefore, it is our hope that this workshop would strengthen the skills of judiciary correspondents to achieve efficient and effective coverage of the sector.”

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