The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has described as “unfortunate” that the Supreme Court set aside the court judgment that jailed former chairman of the board of Nigerian Ports Authority, Chief Olabode George and five former members.
The five directors of the NPA whose sentensing was also quashed are Aminu Dabo, Captain Oluwasegun Abidoye, Alhaji Abdullahi Tafida, Alhaji Zanna Maidaribe and Sule Aliyu, an Engineer.
The apex court discharged and acquitted them of corruption, inflation of contracts and contracts splitting, for which they had been convicted after prosecution by the anti-graft agency.
George, a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain, was the NPA chairman between 2001 and 2003 when the alleged offences were said to have been committed.
The EFCC also rejected an Abuja High Court judgment, which acquitted former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai; and two others.
The two others are Atine Jubrin and Ismail Iro who are former Director-General and former General Manager of the Abuja Geographic Information System, respectively.
In a statement entitled, “EFCC’s position on court judgments,” the EFCC Acting Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said the agency was saddened by the two judgments.
The statement read, “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission note with concern two separate decisions by court on December 13, 2013 in cases investigated by the Commission.
“The first was the acquittal of former Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Chief Olabode George and five others by the Supreme Court. The other was the acquittal of former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai and two other by a Federal Capital Territory High Court.
“Without going into the merit or otherwise of the Supreme court ruling, it is unfortunate that the apex court disagreed with the decision of the two lower courts- the Lagos High Court and the Court of Appeal- which upheld the conviction of the accused persons based on the evidence presented by the Commission.”
The anti-graft commission said it would appeal the decision in el-Rufai’s case.
Source: Punch Nigeria