An Abuja High Court, on Thursday granted interim ownership of controversial Oil Prospecting License (OPL 245) to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

This judgement, according to Justice John Tsoho, is pending the conclusion of investigation and prosecution of oil giants involved in the $1.2billion Malabu oil bloc fraud.

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The antigraft agency, in the suit marked FHC/Abj/CS/14/207, had told the court that investigation conducted revealed that Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd and SPDC secured OPL 245 through fraudulent scheme involving high scale bribery and corruption by top management of the company

The EFCC, in a 21 paragraph affidavit, alleged that Italian Police had also conducted extensive investigation on the fraud committed by Shell Nigeria, Agip and Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd culminating in a criminal charge at the Ordinary Court of Milan.

Other defendants in the Malabu oil scandal are an erstwhile Petroleum Minister, Chief Dan Etete, an oil mogul, Abubakar Aliyu as well as six firms – Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, Rocky Top Resource Ltd, Imperial Union Ltd, Novel Properties & Development Company Ltd, Group Construction Ltd and MegaTech Engineering Ltd.

The court specifically ordered the Department of Petroleum Resources to manage OPL 245 on behalf of the federal government.