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Corruption: Former Commissioner Jailed for 10 years

A former commissioner for finance in Adamawa State, John Babani Elias, has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for diverting state funds, PREMIUM TIMES has reported.

The conviction followed a corruption case instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, against the one time commissioner of local government and chieftaincy Affair.

The judgement was delivered by Justice Bilkisu Aliyu at the Federal High Court, Yola, Friday, in the case against the former commissioner and Al- Akim Investment Nig. Ltd a company promoted by Mr. John Elias and Inuwa Bassi, listed as the 1st and 2nd defendant in the case.

The court however acquitted Mr. Bassi for want of evidence, but sentenced John Babani Elias to 10 years imprisonment.

Mr. Babani had since been taken to Yola prison.

The EFCC secured the conviction in one of the landmark cases of anti-graft involving a politician in Adamawa, did so after it amended the charges against the accused to three counts of graft contrary to section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous under Section 1 (2) (b) of the same Act.

The judge, in her ruling on count 3 which nailed John Babani, and Al- Akim Investment Nig. Ltd., found the former commissioner guilty of defrauding the Adamawa state government of N31,500,000 vide his company which he used to divert the said monies meant for the local government joint project.

Although, the court found Mr. Elias guilty of conspiracy to cause the payment of N21,000,000 vide Habib Bank Nig. Ltd, it however, discharged and acquitted Inuwa Bassi, of the said count.

In addition John Elias Babani is to return N51,000,000 to the Adamawa state government joint account while his company (Al- Akim) shall pay the fine of N5,000,000 and also to be wound up immediately.

But counsel to John Elias, Andrew Malgwi, of Rickey Tarfa Chambers, said his client will appeal the judgement because it was not comfortable with some aspect of the ruling.