A Federal High Court in Uyo has sentenced the governorship candidate of the young Progressive Party (YPP) Senator Bassey Albert to 42 years in prison for graft and money laundering.
Albert, who represents Akwa Ibom Northeast (Uyo) senatorial district in the National Assembly, was convicted on Thursday by Justice Agatha Okeke.
He was being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC).
The court found him guilty and convicted him on the whole six-count charge bordering on money laundering.
He has been taken to Ikot Ekpene prison, Akwa Ibom State, to serve his prison term.
Albert was accused of receiving a bribe of 12 cars worth N254 million from an oil marketer, Olajidee Omokore, during his (Albert’s) tenure (2010 – 2014) as commissioner for Finance in Akwa Ibom.
The maximum sentence for each count is fourteen years. The judge pronounced that he is to serve seven years for each of the six counts.
He is to return N204m as restitution to the Federal Government after serving the sentence.
The judge did not include an option of a fine. The Defence counsel, Solomon Offiong (SAN) pleaded that the court tampers Justice with mercy and includes an option of a fine.
But EFCC opposed the plea, citing legal authority to convince the court not to give a fine as an option of fine, particularly in light of the fact that the court has not opted for the maximum sentence.
The convicted senator was a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) before he defected months ago to the YPP, where he secured the party’s ticket for the 2023 governorship election.
He was a major challenger to the PDP candidate, Umo Eno, in next year’s governorship election in Akwa Ibom State.