Appeal Court acquits, discharge ex-Adamawa governor Bala Ngilari

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Bala Ngilari, former Adamawa State governor has been acquitted and discharged
Bala Ngilari, former Adamawa State governor has been acquitted and discharged

The Yola Division of the Court of Appeal on Thursday discharged and acquitted former governor of Adamawa, Mr Bala Ngilari earlier convicted by a Yola high court.

The Court, presided over by Justice Olayomi Folashade quashed the charge against Ngilari for lack of merit and enough proof of the offences levelled against him by the anti-graft commission.

On March 6, 2017, a Yola High Court sentenced Ngilari, to five years in prison without option of fine after being found guilty of financial fraud.

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Ngilari was along with two of his former aides, Mr Andrew Welye and Sunday Lamurde, Secretary to the State Government and Commissioner of Finance under his administration docked by the commission.

However, the Yola High court, acquitted the two commissioners for lack of enough proof of evidence and sentenced Ngilari.

Counsel to Ngilari, Obed Wadzani said Ngilari was denied fair hearing at the lower court and the charges slammed against him lacked proof.

The EFCC had accused him of violating procurement laws in the award of contract of 167 million naira to one El-Yadi Motors Limited for the supply of 25 units of operational vehicles (Toyota Corolla).

The anti-graft agency had instituted a 19-count against Ngilari, his former Secretary to the State Government, Ibrahim Welye and his former Commissioner of Finance and Budget, Sanda Lamurde.

The EFCC also accused them of conspiracy, lack of “No Objection Certificate”, and no competitive bidding among others in the procurement process.

The three pleaded not guilty and their lawyers applied for bail on their behalf, but the prosecution opposed the appeal.

Also in September 2016, Justice Nathan Musa of a State High Court in Yola granted bail to Mr Ngilari in the sum of one million naira.

He was also directed to provide a surety with landed property in Yola, who must provide a court affidavit of means to that effect while the case was adjourned.

After several proceedings in which he was convicted while his co-accused were discharged, the Appeal Court in Yola on Thursday, July 20, discharged and acquitted the former governor.

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