Nigeria: UK choose guidelines Shasore not corrupt

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Olasupo Shasore, a lawyer for the Nigerian authorities, has been cleared of corruption costs within the case introduced by Nigeria in opposition to the engineering and undertaking administration firm Course of & Industrial Developments (P&ID).

On 23 October, Justice Robin Knowles of the Industrial Courtroom of England and Wales mentioned that with the proof produced earlier than him, Shasore, 59, a former legal professional normal of Lagos State, had not “in my judgement, been proven to be corrupt”.

P&ID had obtained a $6.6 billion judgement in opposition to the Nigerian authorities in 2017 at a non-public arbitration tribunal. The agency accused the federal government of failing to honour a contract it signed with P&ID in 2010 for a gasoline processing plant within the South-South state of Cross River.

With curiosity added to the excellent quantity on the tribunal’s verdict, the judgement sum in opposition to the Nigerian authorities ballooned to $11 billion.

The federal government challenged the choice, arguing that P&ID obtained the contract via dishonest means.

Moreover, the federal government argued that the engineering firm bribed its personal legal professionals – Shasore being considered one of them – in the middle of their arbitration.

In line with the federal government, Shasore, Nigeria’s lead lawyer within the arbitration, colluded with two different legal professionals whom he bribed with $100,000 apiece to make sure that billons of {dollars} have been awarded to P&ID.

In 2022, Nigeria’s Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee arraigned Shasore earlier than a federal court docket in Lagos over allegations of cash laundering. The federal government arraigned the lawyer and his firm, Middlesex Investments Ltd, earlier than a state court docket over additional money-laundering costs.

Shasore denies any wrongdoing.

The federal government’s allegations ignited a public outcry in opposition to Shasore with accusations that he was unpatriotic. Native newspaper PM Information wrote that he ‘betrayed Nigeria’s belief and let down his nation…’.

In a press release he launched on the peak of the non-public assaults, Shasore insisted that he represented Nigeria within the arbitration to the perfect of his capacity. He mentioned he did so ‘with only a few instruments and with minimal assist from inside the authorities itself’.

Not responsible

Justice Knowles in his judgement on Monday dismissed P&ID’s $11 billion damages.

He, nevertheless, maintained that Shasore’s actions in the course of the arbitration have been inconsistent with the Nigerian authorities’s idea that he labored in opposition to its curiosity.

“First, his recommendation to Nigeria to analyze, and permit knowledgeable proof to be obtained, and to proceed in a well timed vogue, was sound and fixed,” the choose mentioned.

“Second, he assisted Nigeria to reach its functions to the Nigerian court docket. Third, his participation within the varied settlement discussions helped scale back the figures.”

The choose additionally mentioned {that a} evaluate of the transcript of the listening to on legal responsibility confirmed “strong challenges” of P&ID by Shasore and that it was inconceivable to not observe the lawyer’s makes an attempt to safe an final result beneficial to Nigeria.

“Then again, the account given on this judgement reveals that duty for failures to acquire proof and to keep away from delay lay quite with many ministers and officers, whom Mr Shasore SAN and others pressed repeatedly.”

‘Leaking authorities paperwork’

The Nigerian authorities had additionally accused Shasore of colluding with lawyer Ovie Ukiri to leak the federal government’s inside authorized paperwork to P&ID. The federal government alleged that Shasore made a “corrupt cost” of $300,000 to Ukiri to behave as his conduit in leaking the paperwork.

Ukiri is Shasore’s long-term affiliate. They have been companions at Ukiri & Shasore all through the Nineteen Nineties till the agency’s merger with Ajumogobia, Okeke, Oyebode & Aluko. The duo, alongside Olufemi Lijadu, left the merger in 2017 to determine USL – Ukiri, Shasore & Lijadu.

Justice Knowles mentioned there was no proof of collusion between Shasore and Ukiri earlier than him and that the previous’s cost to the latter was one from one accomplice to a different in authorized observe.

“Nothing hyperlinks Mr Ukiri’s e mail with the cost, or reveals why Shasore SAN ought to go about issues on this approach if he was behind P&ID receiving copies of Nigeria’s inside authorized paperwork,” he mentioned.

The choose famous that the Nigerian authorities itself didn’t consider that Shasore was corrupt.

In 2017, the federal government engaged Shasore to signify the Ministry of Energy in a $2.4 billion arbitration declare. Three years later, the federal government employed Shasore for a second arbitration with an agreed payment of $1 million.

Justice Knowles mentioned that Nigeria’s attorney-general, Abubakar Malami, had “not defined to this court docket how these occasions are in step with a perception on his and Nigeria’s half that Mr Shasore SAN had been corrupt, in his skilled work for Nigeria within the arbitration in opposition to P&ID”.

As soon as touted as Governor Babatunde Fashola’s successor in Lagos, Shasore served because the state’s attorney-general and commissioner for justice between 2007 and 2011.

When Lagos’s former governor – now president – Bola Tinubu most popular Akinwunmi Ambode to succeed Fashola in 2015, nevertheless, this put paid to Shasore’s dream.

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