Chief Olabode George in a statement has denied setting his eyes on the immediate past National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, rtd, throughout his tenure in office, let alone collecting money from him.
The statement reads, “For the record, Chief Bode George did not collect a farthing from Dasuki or anybody else whatsoever. He has never even set eyes on the former NSA throughout his tenure in office talk less of collecting money from him. Dasuki of course is very much alive to corroborate this position.”
“Sahara Reporters has now gone beyond the pale of gutter journalism in its utter malicious story linking Chief Bode George to a phantom N100 million allegedly collected from Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser”
“For the record, Chief Bode George did not collect a farthing from Dasuki or anybody else whatsoever. He has never even set eyes on the former NSA throughout his tenure in office talk less of collecting money from him. Dasuki of course is very much alive to corroborate this position.”
“Beer parlor reverie and drunken anecdotal scribbles are no substitute for journalism,” he added.
George and Peter Odili, a former Rivers state governor were mentioned among beneficiaries of about N100 million each from the embattled former national security adviser. Report had it that Dasuki implicated them in a statement with the EFCC during his investigation on Wednesday, December 1.
In April 2005, Olabode George threatened court action over a newspaper allegation that an N85 billion scam was uncovered in the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) while he was chairman of the NPA board. He described the allegation as senseless, baseless and thoughtless.
He was indicted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) when it was headed by Nuhu Ribadu on charges of fraud at the NPA. However, he was widely rumored to have been shielded from prosecution by president Olusegun Obasanjo. The EFCC report issued on 1 April 2005 stated that NPA board members, including Chairman Bode George, and the management of the NPA should be held responsible for deliberate and flagrant violations of government rules and regulations governing the award of contracts, and should be sanctioned for contract splitting and inflation of contract price in utter disregard to laid-down government rules and regulations. President Obasanjo dismissed the findings as inconclusive, and ordered another investigation. The second EFCC report cleared Bode George.
In November 2005, the EFCC invited Bode George to a meeting to discuss a party issue where his name had come up. In March 2006, the Alliance for Democracy (AD) called on President Olusegun Obasanjo to prosecute the Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olabode George, and the board and management of the NPA over allegations of frivolous award of contracts worth N60 million.
In August 2008, the EFCC under its new head Farida Waziri arrested Olabode George in Lagos and arraigned him and four others on a 163 count-charge of conspiracy, disobedience to lawful order, abuse of office and alleged illegal award of contracts worth N84 billion while he was chairman of the NPA. After the trial had started, the EFCC reduced the charge to 63 counts. In October 2009, Bode George was found guilty and sentenced to jail for 30 months. The sentence was handed out by Justice Joseph Olubunmi Oyewole.The judge found the defendants guilty on 47 out of the 68 counts. The total sentences added up to 28 years, but the counts for disobedience to lawful order were ruled to run concurrently for six months, and the counts for contract inflation then to run concurrently for two years.
George’s lawyers filed an appeal and requested bail pending resolution of the appeal. The appeal was however refused by the court.As a prisoner, Chief Bode George and his colleagues were placed in the V.I.P. section of the prison. They were not required to wear prison uniforms, and were allowed to have meals prepared by their families.On December 13, 2013, the Supreme Court discharged the conviction of Bode George. The court, headed by judge John Afolabi Fabiyi, said the EFCC had no evidence that George intended to commit fraud at the NPA, and the charges of “contract splitting” was unknown to law.
Omolara Adegoke- Abuja
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