JOLLY NYAME, FORMER GOVERNOR of Nigeria’s Taraba State, had his dream of possible freedom, or reduction of the 12 years imprisonment for N1.6bn corruption charges, cut short by the supreme court. Justice Mary Peter-Odili’s led five-man panel of justices, Friday, up held an appeal court judgement that reduced Nyame’s sentence from 14 to 12 years imprisonment.
The Justices unanimous judgement, however, set aside N100 million fine on him by the appeal court. Justice Augie who read the judgement stated that: “The lower court ought to have heard from the parties, especially, the appellant who appealed for the reduction of the sentence imposed by the trial court, before imposing those fines on him.”
She said the ex-governor’s appeal succeeded in part. But “allowing the appeal in its entirety is a tall order, but there is no question that the fines were a nullity”.
Nyame had appealed the judgement of an Abuja High Court, by Justice Adebukola Banjoko, on May 30, 2018, that convicted him on 27 of the 41 count corruption charges in connection with N1.6 billion misappropriated public funds, by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The misappropriated funds, according to EFCC, included ecological funds. Other funds earmarked for grains and a presidential visit. The commission filed charges on criminal breach of trust, criminal misappropriation of funds, taking valuable assets without consideration, and receiving gratification, as public officer.
November 16, 2018, Abuja Court of Appeal, affirmed Nyame’s sentence by the lower court, but reduced it from 14 to 12 years and awarded N100 million fine against him.
What seemed the end of the road came for Nyame, Friday, when the supreme court affirmed the 12 years prison sentence, but nullified N100 million fine.