SABOTAGE: NIGERIA’S COUNSEL OLASUPO SHASHORE COLLUDED WITH P&ID FOR HIS COUNTRY TO LOSE
Nigeria is fighting to upturn an arbitration judgement that has accumulated to a $10 billion fine in favour of Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) fraudulently assisted by its lead counsel Olasupo Shashore.
Mr OlaSupo Shasore, the former justice commissioner of Lagos State, was the first lawyer Nigeria hired to defend its interest in a failed gas project purportedly entered with the British Virgin Islands-based P&ID.
Mr Shasore represented Nigeria in the first and second stages of the arbitration and received $2 million as legal fees.
However, subsequent investigations carried out by Nigeria’s anti-graft agency EFCC revealed that Mr Shashore received and offered at least $200,000 bribe to key public officials working at Nigeria Petroleum Corporation NNPC and the Ministry of Petroleum to thwart the case.
In 2017, a UK tribunal awarded P&ID a $6.6 billion compensation which included interests based on what it could have earned in 20 years. The interest has accumulated up to $10billion.
On Friday, September 4 Nigeria won a landslide victory when the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales granted Nigeria’s application for an extension of time and relief from the $10 billion sanctions awarded to P&ID.
During the arbitration proceedings, “Mr Shasore, deliberately defended the case thinly such that the Tribunal had no choice but to find for P&ID. The reason was that he had colluded with P&ID, with the inevitable result that Nigeria would lose the case,” Mark Howard, Nigeria’s counsel argued.
While uncovering various fraudulent transactions surrounding the P&ID deal, EFCC discovered that in 2014, Mr Shashore, who conducted arbitration for Nigeria at the jurisdiction and liability stages gave a US$100,000 each to Ms Adelore (the senior lawyer at the Ministry) and Mr Oguine (legal director at the NNPC).
On Friday, September 4, Sir Ross Cranston, who presided over the judgement at the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Commercial Court said:
“What persuades me of a prima facie case of dishonesty in Mr Shasore’s conduct of the arbitration are his payments of US$100,000 each to Ms Adelore and Mr Oguine. Ms Adelore occupied Ms Taiga’s position at the Ministry as the senior lawyer, and Mr Oguine was her counterpart at the NNPC. Their salaries as public servants, according to the Attorney General, Mr Malami, were some US$5000 per annum.
“Mr Mill submitted that these payments had nothing to do with P&ID. Moreover, Mr Shasore had volunteered the information about them to the EFCC and described them as gifts. The argument that Mr Shasore volunteered the payments goes nowhere, since once the EFCC had information from the bank accounts it was difficult to deny them. As to Mr Shasore’s account that these were gifts, that does not seem to me a complete and honest explanation for why he should make these payments to these senior public servants.
“Part of the picture is that after the payment to Ms Adelore, she wrote to the Ministry’s permanent secretary on 30 December 2014 recommending a settlement. We also saw that when the EFCC investigated in the first part of 2016, she was the source of information at the Ministry. I have also mentioned that Mr Oguine was charged with producing witnesses for Nigeria but instead put his name to a witness statement in May 2015 which the Tribunal said was of no assistance to its case. Moreover, with Mr Shasore, Ms Adelore and Mr Oguine comprised Nigeria’s settlement team in late 2014.
“ In the result there is a possibility that Mr Shasore had been corrupted. At the least I accept Mr Howard’s submission that there is a prima facie case that Mr Shasore made the payments to Ms Adelore and Mr Oguine to purchase their silence in relation to his conduct of the arbitration and settlement negotiations. There is therefore a prima facie case that the arbitration proceedings were tainted.
“In my view Nigeria has established a strong prima facie case that the GSPA was procured by bribes paid to insiders as part of a larger scheme to defraud Nigeria. There is also a strong prima facie case that P&ID’s main witness in the arbitration, Mr Quinn, gave perjured evidence to the Tribunal and that, contrary to that evidence, P&ID was not in the position to perform the contract. As to the Jurisdiction and Liability stages of the arbitration, there is a prima facie case that they were tainted by the conduct of Nigeria’s advocate, Mr Shasore.”