A Yola High Court on Monday sentenced a former Governor of Adamawa state, Mr James Bala Ngilari, to five years in prison without the option of fine.
He was found guilty of the corruption charge filed against him by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The case was filed in September 2016.
The court presided over by Justice Nathan Musa, 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.
Delivering judgement, Justice 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.”
Musa 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.”
Musa 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 however discharged and acquitted Welye and Lamurde, saying that the prosecutor could not prove the case against them.
Ngilari’s lawyers said their client would appeal against the sentence.
Ngilari was found guilty of five of the 17 charges levelled against him in September 2016 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the financial crime agency’s spokesman Wilson Uwujaren said on Monday.
He originally took office as the state’s deputy governor in 2012 but took over as governor two years later following the impeachment of his predecessor. He served for seven months until the current Adamawa state governor won an election in 2015.