Bode George’s Verdict, Setback To Fight Against Corruption

Channels Television  
Updated December 18, 2013

The judgement of the Supreme Court on Mr Bode George’s case, acquitting him of allegations brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for which he was sentenced to two years imprisonment, has been described as a setback to justice and the fight against corruption.

The Supreme Court overturned the decisions of the lower courts on December 13, saying that the charge of contract splitting, for which Mr George was convicted was not an offence known to Nigerian law.

The verdict has been seen as a major blow to the EFCC, which had seen the initial verdict as a victory in its war against corruption in Nigeria.

On Channels Television’s programme, Face Off, Mr. Tunde Kloawale, a lawyer, said that the Supreme Court judgement showed that the EFCC did not do a thorough job and insisted that it was a wakeup call for them to be more meticulous in the way they handle their cases.

He said that the 68-count charge filed against Mr Bode George was not a thorough job, as the High Court prosecuted Mr George on 40 for the charges.

Defending the EFCC’s position, Mr Jiti Ogunye said that the judgment did not quite capture the essence of the prosecution case as logically presented before the two lower courts.

“The departure from the decisions of the lower courts is strange and stands as one off in expedition of cases that ought to be determined in a particular manner with certainty.

He said the High Court did not convict the defendants of contract splitting.

“The notion that the accused persons were convicted of contract splitting is a distortion. The accused persons were convicted of abuse of office contrary to section 104 of the criminal code law of Lagos State and disobedience to lawful order made by constituted authority contrary to section 203 of the criminal code law of Lagos State. Contract splitting is only a particular of the offence alleged,” Mr. Ogunye said.

He said that the Supreme Court only elevated the particulars of an offence charged to a statement of an offence and then concluded that that the offence was not in existent at that state.