FCT High Court sitting today 12,June 2018 in Gudu would be delivering judgment on Joshua Dariye, a former Governor of Plateau State over a N1.162bn fraud charge.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had in 2007 preferred 23 counts of money laundering involving alleged diversion of about N1.162bn Plateau State Government’s ecological funds against Dariye. After pleading not guilty to the charges, the trial judge, Justice Adebukola Banjoko, fixed November 13, 2007, for the commencement of trial. Before the trial could begin proper, however, Dariye filed an application challenging the competence of the charges and the jurisdiction of the court. He argued that he ought to be tried before a Plateau State High Court and not the FCT High Court. On December 13, 2007, the trial judge heard and dismissed Dariye’s application for lacking in merit. Dariye appealed against the ruling of the court. But the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of Justice Banjoko. Dariye subsequently took the matter to the Supreme Court.
On February 27, 2015, the Supreme Court dismissed Dariye’s appeal and ordered him to submit himself for trial. Dariye, who now represents Plateau-Central senatorial district, presented 16 defence witnesses while the EFCC presented 10 including Peter Clark, a former Metropolitan Policeman, who investigated him in the United Kingdom. Clark, who is the key witness, said Dariye was still wanted in the United Kingdom for money laundering charges. He gave details of Dariye’s alleged extravagant spending, including the purchase of a pen for £7,000 (N3.4m) in London, before the former governor was arrested. Similarly, the senator’s son, Miracle, is facing criminal charges too.
On April 10, the EFCC arraigned Miracle at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court over his alleged involvement in money laundering to the tune of N1.5bn. Should Dariye be found guilty, he would be the fifth governor of the 4th Republic to be convicted in recent history. On May 30, 2018, a former Governor of Taraba State, Jolly Nyame, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for N1.64bn fraud. Similarly, last year, a former Governor of Adamawa State, Bala Ngillari, was found guilty on five counts of conspiracy to awarding contract amounting to the tune of N167,812,500 for the purchase of 25 units of operational official vehicles for the state without compliance with due process.