By Abdulwahab Abdulah
The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division Wednesday fixed October 25 for definite hearing of an appeal filed by the former Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Chief Olabode George, and five others against their conviction by a Lagos High court last year.
Justice Olubunmi Oyewole sitting at the criminal division of the state High Court, Ikeja had on July 26, 2009 convicted George and five others without an option of fine.
Managing Director of NPA, Architect Aminu Dabo, Captain O. Abidoye, Alhaji Abdullahi Tafida, Alhaji Zanna Maidaribe and Engineer Sule Aliyu, had joined Chief George to appeal against the judgment of Justice Olubunmi Oyewole which sentenced them to two-year jail over non-respect for constituted authority.
At the resumed hearing of the case Wednesday, EFCC’s counsel, Mr. Festus Keyamo, informed the appellate court that he intends withdrawing his motion asking for the leave of the court to file an appeal against the ruling of the court that the EFCC cannot present a copy of a fiat granted by the Attorney-General of Lagos State to the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The appellate court had held in its ruling that EFCC cannot file additional documents before it at this stage, especially when it has failed to produce such document before the trial court.
Yesterday’s adjournment was sequel to the request of Joseph Daudu SAN, counsel to the 4th appellant asking for time to enable him reply to the cross appeal filed by Festus Keyamo, lawyer to the EFCC.
Notwithstanding the prayers for adjournment, Chief Tunji Ayanlaja, counsel to Bode George urged the court to hear the main appeal, adding the Notice of Hearing sent to him indicated that the matter was for hearing.
He reminded the court that the matter was to be given accelerated hearing, since it had earlier ruled on accelerated hearing, pointing out that his client has just few months to complete his jail term.
Ayanlaja urged the Justices to ensure speedily hearing of the appeal in the interest of justice.
The presiding justice, Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi said the matter will be given accelerated hearing but all the parties must file all their processes before the next adjourned date.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had in its cross-appeal against a Lagos High Court’s conviction of Bode George and five others claimed that it was dissatisfied with the part of the judgment of Justice Joseph Oyewole.
Justice Oyewole had discharged the convicts on counts one to but, the EFCC is asking the appellate court to find the convicts guilty on the said counts 1-7 of the charge and convict them accordingly.