A High Court in Yola, Adamawa State has sentenced a former Governor of the state, James Bala Ngilari to five years’ imprisonment without the option of fine.
He was found guilty of corruption charges filed against him in September 2016 by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The court presided over by Justice Nathan Musa, said that 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.
He said Ngilari’s action amounted to executive lawlessness.
Musa said that the five years was the least he could give Ngilari, whose lawyer, Mr. 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.”
The Judge said that Ngilari would serve the sentence in the prison of his choice in the country “but for now he should start with Yola prison.”
He expressed hope that the conviction and sentence of Ngilari would serve as a deterrent to serving governors who engage in doing things without following due process.
“It is my hope that this conviction and sentence will serve as deterrent to serving governors.”
The Judge acquitted the former Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Andrew Welye and Former Commissioner of Finance, Mr. Sunday Lamurde, who stood trial with the former governor on same offenses of 17 count charges. The judge said that the prosecutor could not prove the case against them.
Lawyers to Ngilari said their client would appeal the sentence. Meanwhile, the ex-governor has been taken away from the court.