â€¦â€¦Refuses to quash criminal charges
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—The Supreme Court, Friday, ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to go ahead and prosecute the immediate past governor of Taraba State, Rev. Jolly Nyame, for allegedly stealing about N1.6 billion from the Taraba state treasury.
The order was made after a three-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Ikechi Ogbuagu, yesterday, dismissed as incompetent, an application by the ex-governor, praying the apex court to quash the entire 41-criminal count charges that was preferred against him by the anti-graft agency.
In a Judgment prepared and read by Justice Olufumilola Adekanye, yesterday, the Supreme Court referred Nyame’s caseÂ back to the trial high court on the premises that the proof of evidence tendered by the EFCC in the matter, disclosed enough prima-facie case against him.
The court further maintained that the entire 41-criminal count charges against him were competent and ordered the trial court, which had earlier adjourned the case sine-die, to resume hearing on the matter promptly.
The former governor is facing trial before an Abuja high court, for stealing about N1.6 billion public funds belonging to Taraba State between January 2005 and May 2007.
He had gone to the Supreme Court with a view to quash the entire criminal charges filed against him by the EFCC, to which he had entered a plea of not guilty.
He was specifically interrogated on a petition jointly signed by one Umar Baba and Kelas Obadia entitled: â€œTaraba State in a mess, the Commissioner of Finance goofedâ€ written on behalf of concerned citizens of the state.
The petition formed the basis of his arrest, arraignment and on-going prosecution.
Nyame is accused of collecting N180 million of the N250 million meant for the purchase of stationery by the Taraba State Government between January and February 2005 as a reward for the award of contract to USAB International (Nig.) Ltd. and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 115, 309 and 315 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 laws of Federation of Nigeria 1990.