John Elias has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment without option of fine by a Federal High Court sitting in Yola, presided over by Justice Bilkisu Bello Aliyu. He was a former Commissioner for Finance and Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in Adamawa state during Boni Haruna’s administration.
The conviction followed a corruption case instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, against the one time commissioner of local government and chieftaincy Affairs. He was convicted for diverting state funds.
The judge on Friday also ordered the Corporate Affairs Commission to shut down his company, ALHAKIM NIGERIA LIMITED as well as pay the state sum of N51.5 million which he stole while he held sway in office.
The presiding judge who delivered the judgement under section 3 (2) of the miscellaneous act said the judgement will serve as a deterrent to occupiers of public office who may want to filter resources meant for developmental projects.
This is a remarkable achievement by the EFCC, in recent times no government official has ever successfully been convicted for fraud or looting government treasury. The best that transpired was the corrupt suspect taken to court and granted bail by the judge. That’s where the story ends.
Has the Nigerian judicial system changed its ways? Time will tell!