Prosecutors in The Gambia dropped charges against the former head of retail at Shell Africa, Edrissa Mass Jobe after he was named by Gambian authorities to be part of a group of businessmen and senior government officials that caused the West African nation to lose US$12 million in an oil scandal.
The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh said it is the biggest corruption case in his regime and accused Jobe with a former petroleum minister and cabinet secretary of contracting a Dubai-based oil company that is “non-existent.”
They were charged with economic crimes, conspiracy to commit felony, neglect of official duty, disobedience of statutory duty, and destroying evidence.
Jobe is a shareholder at another oil company, Elton and heads the EM Holding as Chairman. The investment company has interest in agriculture, commodities, environment and energy.
Jobe had been held in detention since June.
Nine others including former Petroleum Minister Sira Wally-Ndow, Cabinet Secretary Nuha Touray and other officials still face charges. Their continuous appeal for conditional release has been denied by the courts.
The Gambia is set to have an anti-graft commission as part of an effort to stamp out corruption in the tiny West African nation. Corruption cases have not been often tried in court but the government has taken renewed efforts and stepped up its anti-corruption campaign.