BEVERLY HILLS, March 06, (THEWILL) – An Adamawa High Court in Yola on Monday sentenced a former Governor of Adamawa state, Bala James Ngilari to five years imprisonment without option of fine after he was convicted over alleged violation of procurement laws.
The presiding judge, Justice Nathan Musa explained that the minimum sentence allowed by law was five years although the convict could have earned more than 25 years under maximum term.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had charged Ngilari for violation of procurement laws in the award of contract of N167m to one El-Yadi Motors Limited for supply of 25 units of operational vehicles (Toyota Corolla).
The anti-graft agency instituted a 19 count-charge against Ngilari, his former secretary to the government, Ibrahim Andrew Welye and his former Commissioner of Finance and Budget, Sanda Jonathan Lamurde. They were accused of conspiracy, lack of No objection Certificate, No competitive bidding and others in procurement process.
Justice Musa convicted Ngilari to five years imprisonment while discharging and acquitting the other two accused persons, Sanda Lamorde and Ibrahim Welye standing trial with him.
Ngilari was found guilty on all five counts of conspiracy to award contract amounting to the tune of N167,812,500 for the purchase of 25 units of operational official vehicles for the state without compliance with due process.
The judge based his conviction of the former Governor on section 58(5) of the Public Procurement Acts, saying “The long hands of the law are tied to convict any person found guilty of breach of procurement acts to be sentenced to less than five years imprisonment.
“The convict is sentenced to a cumulative sentence of five years, cumulatively on all the five counts to any jail in this country of his choice. But, in the meantime, he will be held here in the Yola Prison,” he ruled.
While welcoming the judgement in good faith, Ngilari however disclosed his intention to exercise his rights to appeal.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the ruling, he said; “I accept the judgement with good faith without hard feelings to anyone”.
The case against Ngilari, who governed Adamawa following ex-Governor Murtala Nyako’s removal, under the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was filed by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, government in the state led by Mohammed Jibrilla.