- Justice Cockerill of the UK court ruled in favour of Nigerian government over Malabu scandal
- Cockerill ordered $85 million from the notorious Malabu oil deal be returned to the government
- He, however, concluded his ruling by saying the money belongs to Nigerian people
A judge in the United Kingdom (UK) court on Friday, December 15, ordered $85 million from the notorious Malabu oil deal be returned to the Nigerian government.
According to the Premium Times, this is the first money to be successfully recovered from the $1.1 billion sale of the fantastically rich offshore oil block, OPL245, that has been mired in corruption allegations and legal trench warfare for years.
The counsel for the federal republic of Nigeria argued before the judge, Justice Cockerill, on Friday after Malabu failed to attend the hearing.
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Faisal Osman, counsel for the government, told the court that Malabu had not responded to legal correspondence for more than a year, after another British judge had dismissed Malabu’s earlier legal bid to unlock the $85 million.
After the UK crown prosecution service gave its consent to release the funds to the Nigerian government last month, the judge agreed that she was “entirely satisfied” to grant the order.
According to Cockerill concluded, “The money in question is the money of the Nigerian people.’’
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The Nigerian government’s legal arguments were prepared by UK law firm Verdant Solicitors and Lagos law firm Johnson and Johnson.
Nigeria’s solicitor general Dayo Apata who attended the court hearing and said: ''We are very happy about this ruling. It has been a long road but there is light at the end of the tunnel.''
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had reported that the Presidency said that Nigerian government is concluding plans latest by December this year, with the Switzerland government for the repatriation of $321m looted from Nigeria.
The senior special assistant to President Buhari on justice reforms Juliet Ibekaku made the disclosure on Monday, November 20, at the conversation on anti-corruption campaign organised by the Centre for Democratic Development in Abuja.
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