News

February 15, 2017

Alleged N1.64bn fraud: You’ve a case to answer, Court tells Nyame

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By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA—An Abuja High Court at Gudu, yesterday, held that the former governor of Taraba State, Reverend Jolly Nyame, who was accused of lootingN1.64 billion public funds,  has a criminal case to answer.

The court said it was satisfied that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has established a prima-facie case capable of warranting the former governor to enter his defence to a 41-count money laundering charge pending against him.

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Consequently, trial Justice Adebukola Banjoko ordered Nyame to enter his defence before the high court on March 8.

The Judge further dismissed a no-case-submission made by the defendant who contended that EFCC failed to, by way of credible evidence, nail him to the alleged fraud.

“Having had a close look at the evidence and exhibits, I hold that this case requires the defendant to provide information and give explanation with regard to evidence presented by the prosecution, and so he is ordered to enter into his defence in the interest of justice”, the Judge held.

Nyame had on January 18, through his lawyer, Mr. Charles Edosomwan, SAN, prayed the court to strike out the charge and discharge him on the basis that the prosecution was unable to effectively discharge the burden of proof placed on it by the law.

However, in a ruling  on Tuesday, Justice Banjoko held that Nyame’s contention was bereft of merit.

The court said the defendant has questions to answer regarding allegation that he diverted public funds while he held sway as Taraba state governor.

EFCC had on November 22, 2016, closed its case after it called14 witnesses that testified against the defendant.

The prosecution told the court that the former governor perpetuated the fraud between January 2005 and May 2007.

The trial culminated from a petition jointly signed by one Umar Baba and Kelas Obadia, entitled “Taraba State in a mess, the Commissioner of Finance goofed” written on behalf of concerned citizens of the state.

Nyame, whose trial commenced since 2005, earlier went to the Supreme Court to quash charges against him. He was turned down by the apex court on March 5, 2010.

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