The Court of Appeal in Abuja has ordered the former Taraba State Governor, Jolly Nyame, to pay a fine of N495 million for alleged misappropriation of funds while he was governor of Taraba State from 1999 to 2007.
The court on Thursday, however, reduced the 14-year jail term, earlier given to Mr Nyame by a High Court in Abuja to 12 years.
The appeal court, however, said the law compels the court to add a fine for each of the various convictions.
During an initial judgement of the lower court in April, the court jailed Mr Nyame 14 years for various crimes whose penalties were to run concurrently.
But the appellate court in a fresh ruling on Friday said Mr Nyame ought to have been given a capital punishment, but for the constitutional constraint on the court to stick to the provisions of the law, Premium Times reports.
In May, when Justice Adebukola Banjoko first sentenced Mr Nyame to jail, she summarised how she came about the judgement.
In her address, the judge identified various confessions of fraudulent transactions and said the evidences against the defendant were overwhelming. According to the judge, even the defence witnesses alluded to the crimes contained in the charge against the defendant. She likened the conduct of the prescribed offences to the story of Alibaba and the forty thieves.
Citing a memo which formed the basis of the fraudulent transactions, Mrs. Banjoko questioned the motive behind Mr Nyame’s ‘ratification’ of the said memo, despite the former governor’s claim that he knew nothing about the fraudulent transaction.
“From the evidence alluded in court, transactions by the treasury of the Taraba State government begin with a memo. Now a memo has a root course that is traceable to a decision,” said the judge who added that where the said memo becomes a proven source of questionable transactions, it would only be natural to trace the said memo to its source.
The judge also questioned the failure of Mr Nyame to investigate the illicit flow of funds under his watch adding that Mr Nyame confirmed in court that he never conducted any such investigation.