EFCC withdraws money laundering charge against Shasore after vindication by UK court

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has withdrawn the “money laundering” charge filed against Olasupo Shasore, former attorney-general of Lagos state.

Shasore was arraigned alongside his company, Middlesex Investments Ltd, on a 14-count charge of money laundering before Inyang Ekwo, a judge, in November 2022.

At the court session on Thursday, Bala Sanga, EFCC counsel, told the judge that Lateef Fagbemi, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), has directed the agency via a letter, to withdraw the charge.

Olawale Akoni, Shasore’s counsel, did not oppose the application.

“We will humbly be asking the defendant to be discharged,” Akoni said.

Consequently, the judge granted the application and discharged the defendants.

The AGF’s letter addressed to the EFCC chairman was titled: “RE: Review of All Civil and Criminal Proceedings Between Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) and Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN).”

The cases listed are charge number: FHC/L/447C/2022 – FRN Vs. Olasupo Shasore, SAN; charge number: FHC/ABJ/CR/386/2022 – FRN Vs. Middlesex Investments Ltd and charge number: ID/19657C/2022 – FRN Vs. Olasupo Shasore, SAN.

The letter dated November 23 with reference number DPPA/OLASUPO/345/23 informed the EFCC “that the above charges were being reviewed in the light of recent developments in Process & Industrial Developments Limited vs. The Federal Republic of Nigeria (CL-2018-000182) and The Federal Republic of Nigeria vs. Process & Industrial Developments Limited (CL-2019-000752).

“Consequently, you are hereby directed, pursuant to the provisions of Sections 105(1) & 108(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, to withdraw the said charges with immediate effect and revert on compliance promptly.”

The former Lagos attorney-general had represented Nigeria in the P&ID case.

The P&ID had won a $9.6 billion judgment against Nigeria in a British court.

With the interest rate, the potential payment had accumulated to over $11 billion.

The company claimed it entered into a contract to build a gas processing plant in Calabar, Cross River state.

The firm added that the deal collapsed because the Nigerian government did not fulfill its end of the bargain.

The federal government accused Shasore of compromising the case in favour of P&ID.

Shasore was also alleged to have been bribed to avert justice in the controversial gas supply purchasing agreement (GSPA) contract.

The government had argued that Shasore bribed two senior lawyers in the ministry of petroleum resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to go on with the collusion.

But P&ID had denied the allegation, stating that if the argument on the GSPA was voided and the question on the jurisdiction of the tribunal had been successful at the time, Shasore’s position “would have knocked out P&ID’s entire claim”.

The former Lagos commissioner for justice has also maintained that he defended Nigeria to the best of his ability on the matter.

However, in a judgment delivered on October 23, Robin Knowles, justice of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales, cleared Shasore of corruption allegations in the P&ID case.

In a judgement delivered by email, the judge ruled that Shasore’s actions were “inconsistent with Nigeria’s theory” that he was corrupt.

The court also halted the enforcement of the $11 billion arbitration award in favour of P&ID against Nigeria.