A senior Nigerian lawyer, Olasupo Shasore, has been freed from corruption charges by the Commercial Court of England and Wales, UK.
This comes as the presiding judge, Justice Robin Knowles expressed concern over the Nigerian government’s attempts to tarnish the reputation of Shasore, a former attorney general of Lagos State.
What Justice Knowles said
In his judgment, Justice Knowles discredited P&ID’s $11 billion claim and underscored the inconsistency in the government’s accusations against Shasore.
He particularly highlighted Shasore’s continuous sound advice to Nigeria during the arbitration and his efforts in assisting Nigeria in court applications and settlement discussions.
Further, the judge dismissed allegations of Shasore colluding with fellow lawyer Ovie Ukiri to leak sensitive governmental legal documents.
He pointed out that there was no evidence connecting the two on the matter and that any payments made between them were standard transactions between legal partners.
Justice Knowles further observed that the Nigerian government itself had previously entrusted Shasore with significant roles, implying their faith in his integrity. Shasore had been hired by the government for two major arbitration cases, one involving a $2.4 billion claim.
How it all started
Shasore had been representing the engineering and project management firm, Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID), in their lawsuit against Nigeria.
The company had previously secured a $6.6 billion judgment in 2017, accusing the Nigerian government of breaching a 2010 contract.
With interest, the judgment sum against Nigeria increased to a staggering $11 billion.
In defense, the Nigerian government contended that P&ID had achieved the contract fraudulently and further accused the company of bribing its legal team, which included Shasore.
The government also asserted that Shasore had conspired with other lawyers, allegedly bribing them $100,000 each to ensure a favourable outcome for P&ID.
Amid these allegations, public sentiment in Nigeria grew against Shasore. Major newspapers and citizens accused him of betraying the country. In response, Shasore consistently denied all allegations, emphasizing his commitment to representing Nigeria’s interests to the best of his abilities.
Abdul Samad Rabiu’s journey to becoming one of Africa’s wealthiest magnates is…