Barnabas Manyam, Yola
A Federal Court Appeal sitting in Yola Zone on Thursday discharged and acquitted former Governor Of Adamawa state,Bala James Ngilari of five count charges bordering on corruption and unlawful procurement of 25 Hilux vehicles during his tenure as the chief Executive of the state.
The Presiding judge Hon Justice Olayemi Folashade Omoleye said Ngilari was acquitted and discharged on the ground that, he was not a procurement entity as the trial court noted in its earlier judgement.
The appeal court has also set aside Justice Nathan Musa of the Yola High court which convicted the former governor for five years imprisonment without option or fine
The former governor was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over N160 million financial misappropriation and misconduct alongside the then Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Ibrahim Andrew Welye and former finance Commissioner, Barrister Sanda Lamurde without following due process.
They were accused of criminal conspiracy contrary to section eight of the penal code.
It could be recalled that former governor Bala James Ngilari had earlier been convicted and sentenced to a five year jail term and granted bail after spending barely one month in prison custody under controversial circumstances.
Speaking shortly after the judgement, Counsel to the former governor Barrister Obed Wadzani,pointed out that the charges preferred against the former governor were based on the state procurement law and the charges did not state any offenses he committed.
“Ngilari as at then,when he awarded the contract for purchase of the said vehicles (was) a sitting governor,and the governor is a public officer.
“But the court of appeal said the state procurement law did not envisage a public officer for ministries and a procurement department not a sitting governor “he added