HomeCourt room newsOlasupo Sasore (SAN) Cleared of Corruption Allegation in P&ID Landmark Judgment

Olasupo Sasore (SAN) Cleared of Corruption Allegation in P&ID Landmark Judgment

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A UK Court has dismissed allegations of corruption levelled against Mr. Olasupo Shasore, SAN, and criticised the attempt by the Nigerian government to cast aspersions on the integrity of the learned silk.

Mr. Shasore, SAN, was on the 23rd of October, 2023 cleared by Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Court of England and Wales of the corruption allegations made against him. In His Lordship’s eloquent decision, the Learned Judge stated that the Learned SAN has not “been shown to be corrupt”.

P&ID had obtained a $6.6 billion judgement against the Nigerian government in 2017 at a private arbitration tribunal. The firm accused the government of failing to honour a contract it signed with P&ID in 2010 for a gas processing plant in Cross River State.

With interest added to the outstanding amount at the tribunal’s verdict, the judgement sum against the Nigerian government rose to $11 billion.

The government challenged the decision, arguing that P&ID obtained the contract through dishonest means.

Additionally, the government argued that the engineering company bribed its own lawyers – Mr. Sasore Shasore SAN being one of them – in the course of their arbitration.

According to the government, the Learned SAN, who was Nigeria’s lead lawyer in the arbitration, colluded with two other lawyers whom he bribed with $100,000 apiece to ensure that billons of dollars were awarded to P&ID.

In 2022, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arraigned Mr. Savored SAN before the Federal High Court in Lagos over allegations of money laundering.

The government’s allegations ignited a public outcry against Mr. Shasore SAN with accusations that he was unpatriotic. Local newspaper PM News wrote that he ‘betrayed Nigeria’s trust and let down his nation…’.

In a statement he released at the height of the personal attacks, Mr. Shasore SAN insisted that he represented Nigeria in the arbitration to the best of his ability. He said he did so ‘with very few tools and with minimal support from within the government itself’.

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

The Judge concluded that neither party had called Mr. Shasore SAN as a witness at the hearing before him. He was also not sought independently to provide an account to the Court. He further states that Mr Shasore SAN has not, in his judgment, been shown to be corrupt. His actions are inconsistent with Nigeria’s theory that he was. The Learned Judge gave four examples to buttress his position:

“First, his advice to Nigeria to investigate, and allow expert evidence to be obtained, and to proceed in a timely fashion, was sound and constant,” the judge said.

“Second, he assisted Nigeria to succeed in its applications to the Nigerian court.”

“Third, his participation in the various settlement discussions helped reduce the figures.”

“Fourth, a review of the transcript of the hearing on liability shows repeated robust challenges by him of P&ID, and indeed of the Tribunal; and it is impossible to read pages 55-59 and 68-71 of that transcript as other than properly attempting through argument to secure an outcome in favour of Nigeria.”

To drive the point home, the Learned Trial Judge stated that “On the other hand, the account given in this judgment shows that responsibility for failures to obtain evidence and to avoid delay lays rather with many ministers and officials, whom Mr Shasore SAN and others (including Stephenson Harwood and Mr Cordara QC at one stage) pressed repeatedly”

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