Convicted ex-gov granted bail on health grounds

  • Ngilari: I’ve diabetes, hypertension, insomnia

 

Justice Nathan Musa of Yola High Court yesterday granted bail to Mr. Bala Ngilari, former Adamawa Governor, on health grounds, after he appealed against his recent conviction. Ngilari was granted bail in the sum of N100 million with two sureties, who must deposit Certificates of Occupancy of landed property owned in Yola.

Musa said that the former governor would enjoy his bail pending the determination of his appeal. Justice Musa, on March 6, sentenced Ngilari to five years in prison, without an option of fine, for violating the Public Procurement Act in the award of contract for the procurement of 25 vehicles.

The vehicles, which were for commissioners, were purchased at the cost of N167 million. Musa, in his judgement, had declared that due process was not followed in the transaction.

Ngilari, having appealed the sentence, went back to the same court that convicted him, and asked for bail, pending the determination of his appeal. Justice Musa, after listening to arguments of counsel to Ngilari, Mr. Sam Olugunorisa (SAN) and that of EFCC, Mr. Abubakar Aliyu, in the motion for bail pending appeal, granted Ngilari’s request.

The bail plea was supported by a medical report on Ngilari, from Yola Prison, which indicated that the former governor had been under intensive medical management.

The report, signed by Mr. John Bukar, a Deputy Comptroller in charge of Health, stated that Ngilari had diabetes, hypertension and insomnia.

It said that Ngilari, who had been referred to Canada Specialist Hospital in Dubai, for evaluation and management, had blood pressure that was rising between 180/110 MMHG to 190/120 MMHG. Meanwhile, Mr. Peter Tenkwa, the Controller of Adamawa Command of the Nigerian Prison Service (NPS), has rejected the medical letter used by the court in granting bail to Ngilari on health ground.

Tenkwa told newsmen yesterday in Yola that he was not aware of the letter and had communicated to the prison headquarters. He said the headquarters directed him to issue a query to officials involved in the matter, including the Deputy Controller of Yola Prison, Mr. Abubakar Abaka and a Superintendent of Prisons, Mr. John Bukar, in charge of health.

“Nigeria Prison Service, as I stated, knows nothing about this letter; whoever wrote that letter is on his own. I have been directed to query the officers involved.”

Tenkwa said that all he knew was that he got a letter dated March 23 from Adamawa Ministry of Justice on health facilities in Yola Prison where Ngilari was remanded and that after accessing the facilities, he replied to the letter, informing the ministry that the facilities were okay. “We have enough medical facilities to handle high profile inmates like Ngilari; we even received some supply of drugs on Friday,” Tenkwa said.

Tenkwa, however, said that he had yet to get a release order from the court regarding Ngilari’s bail, adding that whenever he received it, he would contact the service legal department before acting on it. Also commenting on the issue, the Attorney- General of Adamawa and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Bala Sanga, said the bail granted Ngilari was a disturbing development.

“The chamber of attorney general is very worried and disturbed about this granting of bail pending appeal to our former governor; this is a legal remedy that is very rarely granted,” Sanga said.

Sanga said that he was more disturbed that the letter acted on in granting the bail was neither exhibited with the appellant application nor attached to the documents.

“Technically what this means is that the letter was not even before the court. So the court, in my opinion, has no business relying on a document that was not before it to arrive at a decision,” he said.

Sanga said that the purported letter claiming that Ngilari was facing serious health problem was dated March 23, while the letter to the ministry from the prison service, which confirmed that the authorities had the necessary facilities to handle Ngilari, was dated March 24.

“This is very scandalous, if indeed the prison says it did not issue the letter. We intend not to file a complaint against whoever wrote that letter but to refer the matter to the police for prosecution because the court relied significantly on that letter to grant the bail,” Sanga said. The Attorney-General said that the disease was not contagious hence the bail was unnecessary.

Justice Musa, on March 6, sentenced Ngilari to five years in prison, without an option of fine, for violating the Public Procurement Act in the award of contract for the procurement of 25 vehicles. Ngilari was given an option to select a prison of his choice to serve the term.


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