N1.64bn Fraud: Former Taraba Gov, Nyame to Spend 14 Yrs in Jail

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja on Wednesday sentenced former Taraba State Governor, Reverend Jolly Nyame , to 14 years imprisonment.
Trial judge, Justice Adebukoola Banjoko delivering judgment on the 11 years old trial, said she cannot help but hand down the maximum sentence after finding the defendant guilty of allegations of fraud, criminal breach of trust, embezzlement of public funds, among others.
The Judge held that the judgment is meant to serve as deterrent to other public office holders who have plans to dip their hands into the public treasury.
“The court would be failing in its responsibility if it does otherwise. As regards to criminal breach of trust, maximum of 14 years without option of fine.
“Misappropriation, 2 years without option of fine, gratification, 7 years without option of fine, obtaining valuable things without consideration, 5 years without option of fine.
“The sentences however are to run concurrently, the court held.
In addition, the court ordered that all the forfeited funds be returned to Taraba State government.
Justice Banjoko stated that the court was morally outweighed by the fact of the case.
The court held that either Nyame got corrupted in office or was corrupt from day one going by the way he embezzled the state funds.
According to the Judge, Nyame breached the trust reposed on him by the people of Taraba State who had on three separate occasions elected him as the Governor of the state.
Justice Banjoko stated that the former Governor, being a clergyman was supposed to be an epitome of honesty and integrity but chose to betray the confidence reposed in him.
The Judge, noted that Nyame continued to dip his hands into the state’s treasure, even when he was aware that he was under intense searchlight of the anti-graft agency.
While holding that the former Governor had no legal justifications for the crime, Justice Banjoko said: “He behaved like a common thief with unbridled greed”, adding that, “the court must impose the maximum sentence to discourage other public office holders”.
Justice Banjoko found Nyame guilty on 27 criminal count-charge and discharged and acquitted him on 14 others.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had in 2007 arraigned Nyame on a 41-count criminal charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of N1. 64bn belonging to the state.
He was accused of committing the offences between 1999 and 2007, when he served as governor of Taraba State.
In prosecuting the case, the EFCC presented various witnesses who alluded to the fact that Nyame approved the diversion of various funds amounting to over N345m to a company, Saman Global within five weeks in 2005, among other allegations.
Though Nyame denied having any link with the said company, the court however, found him guilty of breach of public trust.
According to the judge, the defendant confirmed approving the memo wherein the order for the transfer of the funds were made, adding that the actions of the perpetrators under the watch of the Governor can be likened to the story of Alibaba and the 40 thieves.
The court had in March this year dismissed a no-case submission filed by Nyame and ordered him to enter his defence.

Author: News Editor

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