The discharge and acquittal of a former governor of Adamawa State, Bala James Ngilari, over allegations of corruption during his tenure, came up again following a recent Daily Trust report reviewing some major cases under the current administration.
In that story of August 22, 2021, titled, ‘20 corruption cases dragging in courts,’ the newspaper mentioned Ngilari among the cases concluded but erroneously omitted his discharge and acquittal by the Court of Appeal, Yola Division. This is regretted.
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The story also inadvertently added that “three officials of the then Nigerian Prison Service were indicted for procuring a fraudulent medical report for the ex-governor” for his release from custody.
Further checks by this newspaper showed that the Court of Appeal in Yola had indeed in July 2017 set aside the judgement of the High Court which convicted Ngilari and held that he was not a procurement entity and could not be charged as if he was an ordinary procurement officer in the government.
The presiding judge, Justice Folashade Omoleye, therefore, dismissed the charges against him for lacking merit and sufficient proof.
Based on the acquittal, all the issues and controversies at the trial were nullified on appeal.
Ngilari, who served as Adamawa governor from October 6, 2014 to May 29, 2015, is now a free man. We regret any inconveniences the report might have caused him.