A former governor of Adamawa State, James Ngilari, who was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been sentenced to five years imprisonment.
He stood trial on a 17-count criminal charge bordering on award of contract without due process to the tune of N167.8 million.
He was convicted by Justice Nathan Musa of the Adamawa State High Court sitting in Adamawa.
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 Mr Ngilari’s action amounted to executive lawlessness.
Mr Musa said the five years was the least he could give Mr Ngilari, whose lawyer, 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.”
Mr Musa said Mr Ngilari would serve the sentence in the prison of his choice in the country “but for now he should start with Yola prison.”
The judge expressed hope that the conviction and sentence of Mr Ngilari would serve as a deterrence 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 court however acquitted the former Secretary to the State Government, Andrew Welye, and former commissioner of Finance, Sunday Lamurde, who stood trial with the former governor on same offenses of 17 count charges, saying the prosecutor could not prove the case against them.
Mr Ngilari said he would appeal the sentence.