FORMER Plateau State governor Senator Joshua Dariye is to spend the next 10 years in prison after the Supreme Court affirmed his conviction for corruption in a case brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Senator Dariye caused an international stir in 2004 when he was arrested in London on January 20 with large sums of money in his possession. He was accused of stealing about $9m of public funds and of money laundering and was subsequently impeached by the Plateau State House of Assembly but this was later overturned by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court as the lawmakers did nor form a quorum before taking the action.
Despite being associated with looting public funds, Senator Dariye was elected as the lawmaker representing Plateau Central Senatorial District in April 2011. Elected as a Labour Party candidate, he received 189,140 votes, defeating Dawuda Gowon, the younger brother of former head of state General Yakubu Gowon, the Peoples Democratic Party candidate who received 160,106 votes.
To add insult to injury, on March 28 2015, Senator Dariye was re-elected as the lawmaker representing Plateau Central Senatorial District after polling 189,150 votes. Despite this, however, the EFCC kept up its pursuit of the matter and today, Senator Dariye’s sentence was confirmed.
In 2007, the EFCC charged Senator Dariye to court and accused him of diverting N1.126bn from Plateau State government’s ecological fund. As a result, Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory high court sentenced him to 14 years on criminal breach of trust in 2018.
In addition, the former governor was also sentenced to another two years in prison for miss- appropriation of funds which was then reduced to one year by the appeal court. Following his appeal against the judgment, the Court of Appeal in Abuja on November 16, 2018, commuted the 14 year jail term to 10 years.
Justice Helen Ogunwumiju held that the Court of Appeal and a high court of the Federal Capital Territory were right in their findings in the criminal breach of trust filed against the ex-governor under section 315 of the Penal Code. Today, the Supreme Court of Nigeria upheld this judgement.