On 31 July 2015, the SFO confirmed it had opened an investigation into Soma Oil & Gas Holdings Ltd. The investigation related to allegations of corruption in Somalia and possible illegal payments to Somali officials.
The judicial review application brought by Soma Oil & Gas Holdings Ltd was expedited because the company claimed that it faced insolvency if it was unable to enter into a number of contracts by 25 August 2016. The company claimed that these contracts could not be entered into whilst the SFO investigation was ongoing.
The company argued that the SFO's investigations had taken too long and that the SFO should discontinue the investigation, or part of it, and also disclose to the company what new lines of investigation were being followed by the SFO.
The SFO argued that the investigation was lawful and that the SFO had been as sensitive as possible to the company's concerns. Counsel for the SFO stated "what is being sought by the claimant is that the court intervenes to terminate a proper, criminal investigation. The SFO do not accept that they would be responsible for any loss of contracts."
The court refused the application on the basis that the judge did not see any "prospect of success".
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