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Bode George’s appeal for Thurs

By Innocent Anaba
The Court of Appeal in Lagos will on Thursday, commence hearing in the appeal by Chief Bode George, a chieftain of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), against the judgment of a Lagos High Court, Ikeja,  which sentenced him to two and half years imprisonment.

The lower court had on October 26 found George and five others guilty on 28-count charge of disobedience to lawful order and sentenced them to jail accordingly.

George, in the appeal, is praying the appellate court to allow the appeal and set aside his conviction and sentence on all the counts.

He is further asking the court for an order admitting him to bail pending the determination of his appeal against the judgment.

He is contending that the judge erred in law in applying the American concept of “The Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine,”  which, he said, was unknown to the Criminal Code of Lagos State and runs contrary to Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution.

According to him, the judge erred when he imposed criminal liability on the defendants as board members of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for the actions or inactions of members of the management of NPA.

He maintained that his conviction was unwarranted and cannot be supported in law, having regard to the evidence adduced at the trial and that the trial judge erred in law in convicting him of the offence of conspiracy to commit the offences,  when there was no evidence before the court in proof of the offence of conspiracy.

According to him, “the trial judge erred in law in convicting him of alleged offences under Section 203 of the Criminal Code, when the counts in charge included elements of fraud not covered by the section and that the provision of Section 203 of the Criminal Code is contrary to and in violation of Section 203 [10] of the 1999 constitution”.

He is contending  that there was “documentary evidence before the court in [Exhibit D4] to show that since 2001, the circular which was the basis of his conviction was not implemented by any Board before and after his term of office as Chairman board of the NPA”.

Bode George in a 10 paragraph affidavit in support of the appeal, averred that it “had became urgently necessary to file the application for bail pending appeal in view of the refusal of the trial judge below to grant same on exceptional circumstances”.

He further averred that “if the appeal succeeds and the application is not timeously heard, the applicant would have served the term of imprisonment which he should ordinarily not have served”.

Others jailed alongside with George are  Managing Director of NPA, Architect Aminu Dabo, Captain O. Abidoye, Alhaji Abdullahi Tafida, Alhaji Zanna Maidaribe and Engineer Sule Aliyu.

Meanwhile no date has been fixed for the hearing of their separate appeals.

It will be recalled that upon conviction of Bode George on October 26, 2009, he was taken to Kirikiri Prison, Lagos,  where he is now an inmate.


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