Nigeria is seizing one of Africa’s richest oil blocs and could prosecute petroleum giants Shell and Eni over a corruption scandal, court documents show.
The country’s economic and financial crimes commission said a federal high court has ceded control of Oil Prospecting Licence 245 to the federal government while it investigates and prosecutes suspects in the so-called “Malabu Oil scam”.
The inquiry has drawn investigators from the United States, Italy, France, Switzerland and Holland.
The commission’s petition said Dutch-British Shell and Italian Agip – now Eni – bought the bloc, knowing the transaction was “fraught with fraud” and that the $1.2bn payment to former petroleum minister Dan Etete and his cronies was a bribe.
The state oil company received only $210m from the deal.