The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has opened probe on the alleged corruption and breach of due process in the award of Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 (HR. 24/2016), known as Malabu oil deal.
Reports say more than half of the N171.32 billion ($1.1 billion) paid to Malabu Oil and Gas for the procurement of the OPL 245 by Shell and Eni, and was used to bribe Nigerian politicians and intermediaries who helped to secure the controversial deal.
The House had by a resolution of January 27 mandated the Razak Atunwa-led Adhoc committee to probe the alleged corruption, malpractice and breach of due process in the award of the licence.
In his remarks during a two-day public hearing organized by the ad-hoc committee on the investigation of the oil deal, the speaker said the award was shrouded in controversy, scandals, corruption, and breach of due process that resulted in monumental revenue loss to the country.
The Speaker also accused previous administration of failure to take necessary steps to resolve the disputes associated with OPL 245, saying the failure had attracted the searchlight of international anti-corruption and money laundering watchdogs.
“The Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 is a potentially lucrative oil block encompassing a massive area of 1,958 square kilometers with two deep water fields estimated to hold about 9.2 billion barrels of crude oil which award is shrouded in controversy, scandals, corruption, and breach of due process that resulted to monumental revenue loss to the country.
“In the face of dwindling revenue of the country, there is the need for the country to intensify efforts to access funds for the finance of its developmental and infrastructural projects.
“It is instructive to note that OPL 245 has a long running history and has been subject of many investigations, hence the need to put a finality to the matter.
“The failure by previous administrations to take necessary steps to resolve the disputes associated with OPL 245, has attracted the searchlight of international anti-corruption and money laundering watchdogs which has portrayed Nigeria as unserious in its fight against corruption.
“This Committee should be guided by the work of its predecessors. Indeed, the 7th House of Representatives made far reaching resolutions on this subject which was not implemented by the Executive.
“We expect that the anti- corruption stance of the current government of Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, will lead to a better outcome if the Committee makes similar findings.
“It should be noted that Public Hearing of this nature is all about information gathering from stakeholders to enable it make informed decisions especially to plug loopholes in existing laws, on any subject. We therefore urge you to be open and forthright in making necessary contributions that will help us properly advice the executive on the subject matter under investigation,” Mr. Dogara added.