By Ebere Agozie
The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the 12-year jail term imposed on former Taraba governor Jolly Nyame over N1.6bn corruption charge.
The apex court, however, set aside all fines imposed on the former governor by the appellate court.
Delivering Judgment, Justice Amina Augie held that the Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the conviction of Nyame was apt based on available evidence.
Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the FCT High Court had on May 30, 2018, convicted Nyame on a total of 27 out of the 41-count corruption charge instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The trial court had convicted the appellant to a 14- year jail term for offences bordering on criminal breach of trust, criminal misappropriation, and receiving gratification while serving as governor between 1999 and 2007.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the trial court, the Appellant approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja seeking the setting aside of the judgment.
Court of Appeal on Nov.16, 218 went ahead based on evidence to reduce the 14-year jail term slammed on the appellant to a 12-year jail term.
Augie, who delivered the judgment written by Justice Mary Peter-Odili said the Court of Appeal had imposed fine without any prompting by either of the parties to the case and without hearing from the appellant.
“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.
“This court affirms the guilt and conviction of the ex-governor by upholding the Court of Appeal’s reduction of the 14-year jail term pronounce on the appellant to 12 years.
“Allowing the appeal in its entirety is a tall order, but there is no question that the fines were a nullity,” she said.