JOLLY Nyame, former governor of Taraba State, has been sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for criminal breach of trust by misappropriating the sum of N1.64 billion state funds during his tenure as governor.
Delivering the judgement on Wednesday, Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Gudu, found Nyame guilty of 27 out of the 41 counts preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
JUST IN: A Fed Capital Territory High Court, Gudu, has found Jolly Nyame, ex-Taraba governor guilty of misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N250 million. Proceedings still ongoing.
— EFCC Nigeria (@officialEFCC) May 30, 2018
Mr Nyame was accused of diverting N1.64 billion while he served as governor of the state between 1999 and 2007.
The prosecution, the EFCC, presented various witnesses who showed how Mr Nyame approved the diversion of funds amounting to over N345 million to a company, Saman global, within five weeks in 2005, among other allegations.
Though Mr Nyame claimed he did not know anything about the company, the court found him guilty of breaching public trust when confirmed that the ex-governor approved the memo wherein the order for the transfer of the funds was made.
The court held that Mr Nyame is guilty of most charges levelled against him.
The judge, Adebukola Bankole, submitted that the actions of the perpetrators under the watch of the ex-governor can be likened to the story of Alibaba and the 40 thieves
In her final verdict, Justice Banjoko sentenced Nyame to the maximum punishment of 14 years for criminal breach of trust, without an option of fine, two years for misappropriation, seven years for receiving gratification and five years for “obtaining valuable things without consideration.”
The sentences are to run concurrently.
Nyame thus becomes the second former State Chief Executive to be jailed for corruption, following the five-year jail sentence handed to Bala Ngilari, former Governor of Adamawa State, in March 2017.
Ngilari was sent to jail for violating 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 was, however, acquitted by the Court of Appeal sitting in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, in June of the same 2017.
Justice Folashade Omoleye, who delivered the judgement, held that Ngilari was not a procurement entity as the trial court noted in its earlier judgment, therefore, he could not be charged as if he was an ordinary procurement officer.