Justice Olubunmi Oyewole of the Lagos High Court sentences Bode George to two years imprisonment

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bode George and his wife at Court
By Chima Onwe

The former Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) board Chairman and a Chieftain of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP), Bode George, was on Monday convicted by Justice Olubunmi Oyewole of the Lagos High Court.

Mr. Oyewole sentenced Mr. George and four other former board members of the NPA to two years each on a seven-count charge and another six months each on a 28-count charge.

The seven-count charge included abuse of office, while the 28-count charge was on wilful disobedience to lawful authority.

Sentenced with Mr. George were former NPA Managing Director Aminu Dabo, Olusegun Abidoye, Abdullahi Aminu Tafida, Zanna Maidaribe and Sule Aliyu.

History of the case

The former South West deputy Chairman of the PDP was charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2008 for contract inflation to the tune of N84 billion with five other board members, during his tenure as the Chairman of the NPA board between 2000 and 2003.

Giving evidence in court on January 22, 2009, a member of the committee set up to investigate the allegation of fraud leveled against the accused persons and a Chief Detective Superintendent in the EFCC, Bamanga Bello, said: "We found that there were irregularities in the award of contract by the Board of the NPA between 2001 and 2003.

"Contracts were split and inflated by the Board and advance payments above the 25 per cent limit approved by the government were made in the award of fifteen contracts," he said.

Mr. George and the other former board members first appeared before the state High Court on a 163-count charge on August 9, 2008.

According to the charges, they were alleged to have, among others, conspired about June 6, 2003 to inflate the contract price for the rehabilitation of Kalmar Container Handler from 215,555.52 Euro to 269,965.71 Euro.

They were also alleged to have inflated contract awarded to Dateks Ltd for the replacement and installation of six 11KVA High Tension Panels with accessories at Sub-station C, Tin Can Island Port, Lagos, from 310,500.40 Euro to 345,925.00 Euro.

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