Monday, March 6, 2017 4:15 pm
James Bala Ngilari, a former governor of Adamawa State was on Monday sentenced to five years imprisonment without an option of fine by a Yola High Court after he was found guilty of the corruption charges filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Justice Nathan Musa, however, acquitted the former Secretary to the State Government, Andrew Welye; and former Commissioner of Finance, Sunday Lamurde, who stood trial with the former governor on same offenses.
The Judge said the prosecution had proven beyond reasonable doubt that Ngilari violated the Public Procurement Act of the state by awarding contract for the procurement of 25 vehicles for his commissioners at the cost of N167 million without following due process.
According to him, the action of the Governor amounted to executive lawlessness.
The Judge said the five years was the least he could give Ngilari, whose lawyer, Samuel Toni (SAN), pleaded for leniency “in view of his (Ngilari) invaluable contribution while he was the governor of the state during the trying moment of insurgency”.
Musa said Ngilari would serve the sentence in the prison of his choice in the country “but for now he should start with Yola prison”.
The Judge further said he hope that the conviction and sentence of the former governor would serve as a deterrent to serving governors who engage in doing things without following due process.
He said: “It is my hope that this conviction and sentence will serve as deterrent to serving governors.”
The judge however discharged and acquitted Welye and Lamurde, saying that the prosecutor could not prove the case against them.
Ngilari told journalists before he was taken away by prison officials that he would appeal the sentence.