Dariye and Nyame, who were sentenced to 14 years in prison had approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the “guilty” verdict handed down on them by a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Gudu presided over by Justice Adebukola Banjoko.
However, while upholding their convictions, the Appellate Court commuted Dariye’s jail term to 10 years, and that of Nyame to 12 years.
With the convictions, the EFCC, led by Ibrahim Magu as the acting Chairman, has remained consistent in its concerted efforts aimed at ensuring that the negative narrative of pervasive corruption in the system is changed for the better, and the perception that some persons are above the Law is altered.
The record of convictions cuts across the various offices of the EFCC with Lagos securing 85 convictions, Abuja with 53, followed by Kano with 36. Port Harcourt secured 33 convictions, Gombe recorded 28; Benin had 27; Enugu, 15; Maiduguri, 11; Ibadan, 10; Uyo, 8, and Kaduna, 6.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to stop the continued payment of N14.2 million salary by the National Assembly to Senator Joshua Dariye.
Dariye who is a former governor of Plateau State is currently serving a 10-year jail term at the Kije Prison in Abuja for embezzling N1.1bn ecological funds belonging to Plateau State while in office.
In a statement on Sunday by SERAP’s Senior Legal Adviser, Ms Bamisope Adeyanju, the organisation says the payment of the lawmaker’s salary while in prison for corruption violates the law.
“This action undermines the rule of law and is a great moral failure because it sends a message that corruption pays—it’s the opposite of Nigerian Constitutional principles and international obligations,” Adeyanju said.
SERAP in the suit number FHC/L/CS/2146/18 filed last Friday accused the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and the National Assembly Service Commission of attempting to override Nigerian law and the judgment.
It said, “By paying Mr Dariye’s allowances while in prison, Mr Saraki and the National Assembly Service Commission have destroyed the efficacy and purpose of Mr Dariye’s conviction and have brought the rule of law and administration of justice into disrepute.
“SERAP and the public are alarmed by the action of Mr Saraki and the National Assembly Service Commission and they ought to be restrained by this Honourable Court.”
The anti-corruption group appealed to the court to compel the Senate President and NASS Service Commission to immediately stop the payment of the convicted lawmaker.
To SERAP, “restraining them would send a clear message to Nigerian elected officials that corruption does not pay and contribute to promoting accountability and fostering public trust and confidence in Nigeria’s democracy, the rule of law and the governance system.”
The court also quashed count 23 because the persecution did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that the former governor diverted the funds of the state to purchase a house in London.
The court, therefore, reduced the sentences to 10 years for each count which is to run concurrently.
It would be recalled that High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Gudu, Abuja, presided by Justice Adebukola Banjoko on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, sentenced former governor Joshua Dariye who was a serving senator to 14 years’ imprisonment on charges of criminal breach of trust and criminal appropriation of the state’s funds running to over N2billion.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has been vindicated by the convictions of two former governors and prominent members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye, by a Federal Capital Territory High Court.
Spokesman for the anti-graft agency, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement on Wednesday that the court judgements have proven the critics of the EFCC wrong that it is lukewarm in prosecuting APC chieftains for corruption.
Nyame and Dariye, both former two-term governors of Taraba and Plateau states respectively, were convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison on corruption charges.
While Nyame was convicted of criminal misappropriation, diversion of public funds, and breach of public trust, Dariye was sentenced for criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds.
In the course of Nyame’s trial, the prosecution called 14 witnesses and presented documentary evidence, which among other things, revealed that the N250 million was shared and never utilised for the purpose for which it was approved.
A total of N180 million was diverted to the bank account of Salman Global Ventures Limited, which provided no services for the state.
On his part, Dariye diverted about N1.16 billion Ecological Fund meant for the state, to his personal use, including transferring monies to Ebenezer Retnan Ventures (an unregistered company reportedly managed by him) and Pinnacle Communications Limited.
In proving its case against Dariye, the EFCC called 10 witnesses, including a detective constable with the UK Metropolitan Police in London, Peter Clark, who investigated Dariye in the UK for money laundering offence.
Both trials had been ongoing for 11 years and towards the end of the proceedings, the two convicts changed their political camps, moving from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling APC.
According to the anti-graft agency, Dariye who won election into the Senate on the platform of the PDP decamped to the APC at a critical phase of his trial, when the prosecution had called all its vital witnesses and conviction appeared imminent.
Not surprisingly, this fueled speculation that the gambit was a calculated move to stave off imminent conviction but rather than slow proceedings, his trial accelerated, forcing the defence to close its case and setting the stage for the judgment of June 12.
The EFCC revealed further that a former Accountant General of Kebbi State and member of the APC, Mohammed Dakingari, was convicted of corruption and sentenced to 70 years in prison.
They noted, however, that former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu, is still being prosecuted in court by despite crossing over to the APC.
“Indeed, the Commission has closed its case in that matter after calling several witnesses. But rather than open his defence, Kalu elected to file a ‘no case submission’.
“It will be up to the court to determine whether the Commission has presented enough evidence to warrant him to enter his defence,” the statement read.
Referring to the cases listed above, the anti-corruption agency maintained that it is apolitical and not bothered by the political colours and affiliations of crime suspects.
“Rather than entertain idle gossips who thrive on haranguing the EFCC with charges of selectivity, these two recent convictions offer Nigerians the opportunity to better appreciate the efforts and sacrifices of the Commission, given the enormous resources in cash and man-hours that went into proving the cases against the two former governors, both of which went up to the Supreme Court on preliminary issues.
“Particularly in the case of Dariye, one of the witnesses, Peter Clark, a former detective of the Metropolitan Police, came several times to give evidence only for proceedings to be frustrated with forced adjournments by Dariye’s Lawyers. His passage from the UK to Nigeria and back was at the expense of Nigeria taxpayers,” the statement added.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned Nanle Miracle Dariye, son of former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye, before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Dariye was arraigned by the anti-graft agency on Tuesday on six counts of money laundering to the tune of N1.5billion.
He was charged alongside Apartment le Paradis, a hotel where he was a director.
EFCC claimed that the defendant, sometime in 2013, failed to report a cash transaction to the tune of N1.5billion which he received through the hotel’s account in one of the old generation banks.
The amount, according to them, is above the threshold of the N10million permissible by law. Additionally, the hotel was also not registered as Designated Non-Financial Institution, DNFI.
The offence is in contravention of Section 5(1) (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 5 (b) of the same Act.
Count two of the charge reads: “That you, Nanle Miracle Dariye, while being a director of Apartment le Paradis Limited and Apartment le Paradis Limited on 28th day of March 2013 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court did commit an offence to wit: Failure to report within seven days, a cash transaction in the sum of N551,555,428.50 paid to Apartment le Paradis Limited by BGL Securities Ltd vide your First Bank Plc Account No 2014165731 on 28th day of March 2013, which is above the threshold of N10,000,000; and you hereby committed an offence contrary to Section 10(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 10 (3) of the same Act”.
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge when they were read to him.
In view of his plea, counsel to the EFCC, George Adebola, asked the court to fix a date for trial and for the defendant to be remanded in prison custody.
But Dariye’s counsel Charles Abalaka pleaded that he was yet to file an application for bail as he was served with the charge late on Monday.
He then urged the court to admit his client to bail, while presenting two sureties – Mr Amana Yusuf, a Grade Level 12 civil servant working with Ministry of Defence, and one Mrs Rose, a Grade Level 13 officer working in the Office of the Head of Service in Abuja.
Justice Ojukwu admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N5million with two sureties in like sum.
He also stated that the sureties must be resident of Abuja and must provide tax evidences for 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The judge, thereafter, adjourned till April 10 -12, 2018 for the commencement of trial.
“The defendant is to be remanded in EFCC custody pending the fulfillment of the bail conditions”, he said in a statement by the EFCC spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren.
Political calculations in the Plateau State House Of Assembly has been distorted following the defection of Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Gagdi alongside the Minority Whip, Na’amlong Daniel from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
The latest movement of the PDP legislators to the ruling party has put the APC in firm control with the majority of 13 to 8 which was occupied by the PDP at the beginning of the 8th Assembly.
Announcing their decisions at the plenary session of the House, Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Gagdi, representing Kantana constituency and Minority Whip, Na’amlong Daniel, representing Mikang constituency stated that the current leadership tussle rocking the PDP informed their decisions to move to the ruling party in the state.
They explained that this is to enable them offer better representation to their constituencies at the legislative chamber.
The PDP in the state has since reacted to the defection of the duo.
The Public Relations Officer, John Akans, condemned their action, describing it as unconstitutional and “unacceptable” as the party will exhaust all constitutional means to reclaim its mandate.
The latest defection of the two legislators is the third in the series, following the defection of former Governor of Plateau state and senator representing Plateau central at the Senate, Joshua Dariye from PDP to the APC.
The Supreme Court has dismissed an interlocutory appeal filed by former Plateau State Governor, Senator Joshua Dariye, challenging the corruption charges leveled against him since 2007 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mr Dariye was arraigned by the EFCC on July 13, 2007 on a 23-count charge bordering on money laundering and other corruption charges alleged to have belonged to the Plateau State Government.
Dariye argued that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case on the alleged offenses involving funds belonging to the Plateau State Government.
The former governor thus argued that he ought to have been tried in Jos and urged the court to quash the entire 23 counts against him.
However, the Supreme Court said Dariye’s appeal was “unmeritorious,” saying the Court of Appeal was right to have affirmed the ruling of the FCT High Court which had dismissed his notice of preliminary objection.
A five-man panel led by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, said the scenario played out in the suit was a “sad commentary on the country’s anti -graft war”.
The Judges then ordered Dariye to return to the FCT High Court in Gudu, Abuja, to face his trial.
The EFCC accused the former governor of diversion of about 1.2 billion Naira of the state’s ecological funds into the account of Ebenezer Ratnen Venture, which is alleged to be one of the companies through which he allegedly siphoned the public funds.
Students of Plateau State University have staged a protest to express their concern over non-accreditation of courses at the University since its inception about eight years ago.
The protesting students who carried placards round the university prevented their colleagues in 100 to 300 levels from sitting for their examinations as part of their protest. They also prevented the acting Vice Chancellor from entering the school.
The administration of former governor of Plateau state, Joshua Dariye had established the state university about nine years ago with the mind of providing quality education as well as complimenting the University of Jos in admission of students from its catchment areas.
High hopes heralded the birth of the ivory tower which took off from its permanent site and offered courses in arts, environmental sciences, management sciences, natural and applied sciences as well as social sciences.
However, eight years after its establishment, non of the courses are yet to be accredited by relevant authority.
Professor John Wade was appointed the pioneer Vice Chancellor in 2005 and the school further produced three other Vice Chancellors within nine years. However, none of the students who have passed through the institution have graduated.
A situation that has been berated the academic staff forum led by its chairman, Gilbert Yalmi.
In a bid to placate the students, acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Stephen Malo assured them that the process of accreditation is being vigorously pursued by the institution.
It is still unclear what the fate of the 400 level students of the Plateau State University that will be writing their final examination will be when their courses are yet to be accredited by the relevant authority.
A public affairs analyst and a member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, Phrank Shuaibu, has said that there is a ‘grand design’ by the party to impeach Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers state ‘the same way they did to (former Governor) Dariye’.
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP, on Monday, suspended Governor Amaechi, as a member of the party over the crisis rocking the state chapter of the party.
While speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, he described the party’s decision to suspend Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State as ‘reckless’, alleging that the party is acting out a prepared ‘script’.
Mr Shuaibu also disclosed that the embattled governor was not given fair hearing before being suspended because he could not fulfill a request by the leadership of the party.
Former Governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye was impeached in 2006 after being accused of corruption.
The stage appears set for a fierce legal battle between the Federal and Delta state governments over the $15 million bribe allegedly recovered from the former governor of Delta state Mr. James Ibori.
Delta state government has formally come out to lay claim to ownership of the money and is seeking for a Federal High Court order to release the said money to its treasury.
The money was said to have been offered as bribe by Ibori in 2007 to the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu to compromise the probe of a fraud allegation against Ibori.
However, following the denial by Ibori that he did not offer the bribe, the money had since 2007 been kept in the custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria for safe keep.
In an application filed by the Delta state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Charles Ajuyah, at the Federal High Court in Abuja, claimed that the money legitimately belonged to the Delta state government and that the court should order its return to its treasury since the money in dispute was allegedly offered by Ibori while he was in office as governor of the state.
In a 35-point affidavit in support of the application, Delta state asserted that Ibori was a governor of the state between May 29, 1999 and May 29, 2007, the period the money in dispute was allegedly offered by Ibori and on that basis, the state said that the $15 million is the exclusive property of the state and it is entitled to collect it as the bona fide owner.
The affidavit averred that any denial by Ibori in respect of the money cannot affect entitlement of the state to the amount.
The affidavit also indicated that the state did not formally apply for payment of the money in view of the pending appeals to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal because it did not want to prejudice the appeal cases.
It further claimed that all monies, assets and properties recovered from Mr. Joshua Dariye, former governor of Plateau state were returned to Plateau state just like those recovered from Diepreye Alamieyesigha of Bayelsa were returned to Bayelsa state.
With this precedence, there should be no legal basis to treat the case of Delta state any different from others and that it is in the interest of justice that the money should be released to Delta.
The Delta state government says the money, if released to the state, will enhance the developmental projects in the state.
The application would be argued before Justice Gabriel Kolawole on September 17, when the federal government’s motion on the same issue would come up for further hearing on who should be the rightful owner of the controversial money.
The Federal Government had on July 24, at a Federal High Court in Abuja obtained an interim order that the money be forfeited to it pending the time anyone who may lay bona fide claim shows cause of legitimate ownership at the court.
A former minister of information, Chief Edwin Clark has called on the Nigerian judicial system to put its house in order, claiming that both the bar and bench have thrown away ethics of the profession.
The Ijaw leader made this known on Wednesday in Abuja, where he was the guest lecturer of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies’ (NIALS) annual lecture on the State of the Federation.
According to Chief Clark, “The Bench and The Bar have some questions to answer.”
“Both the bench and the bar are not doing anything to address corruption and if nothing is done about it, Nigeria will remain in the bottom list of corrupt countries in the world” he affirmed.
He made an example of an injunction granted the former governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili by a Court that prevents any possibility of him facing a trial in the country.
“Peter Odili was found to have stolen N100billion of Rivers state fund and today he is a free man and parading himself as a state’s man” he said.
Citing more complicities of judges and lawyers, Chief Clark named former governors such as Joshua Dariye, Ayo Fayose, Saminu Turaki, Uzor Orji Kalu, as some of the former governors whose trial on corruption charges are stalling in courts due to series of adjournments, and injunctions by their lawyers and judges.
“Their cases are adjourned and adjourned and nothing is happening” he stated annoyingly.
After alleging that former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode embezzled some funds, meant for the aviation sector, the Ijaw leader stated that “Femi Fani-Kayode is now parading himself as a moral icon, so why will people not steal” Chief Edwin Clark asked.
“If we don’t fix corruption in this country…we are going nowhere” he concluded.
As the National Assembly gears to undertake the fourth amendment of the 1999 Constitution, elder statesman Chief Edwin Clark, has enjoined the legislators to hold on for suggestions from a National Conference before going ahead with the task.
The Ijaw leader made this known on Wednesday in Abuja, where he was the guest lecturer of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies’ (NIALS) annual lecture on the State of the Federation.
On what to do with the 1999 Constitution, whether to amend or re-write a brand new Constitution, Chief Clark stated that “a Constitution must be written by the people”, adding that “but it is only an amendment of the Constitution that will be keep this country together because if a new Constitution is written it will only benefit the devils-the politicians.”
Speaking on the call for a Sovereign National Conference, the 85 year old stated that “what we need is a National Conference and not a Sovereign National Conference because the result of the sovereign national conference can go anyway.”
He welcomed the conveying of a National Conference “to and discuss the basis of our existence as a nation.” “We have never done this since Lord Luggard put us together in 1914 and a fiat Floral Shaw gave us the name Nigeria” he said.
According to the veteran politician “only a national conference can provide the basis for Nigeria’s unity.”
He appealed to the federal government to “convene a National Conference where we (Nigerians) can discuss the basis of our country, where we can discuss corruption, marginalisation and every other thing.”
“The suggestions of this conference will then be submitted to the National Assembly before the Constitution Amendment is carried out. This is the only way we can have a People’s Constitution”