A former governor of Plateau State, Senator Joshua Chibi Dariye has spent his first night in prison, after he was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment on corruption charges, 13 years after jumping bail in London for money laundering.
An FCT High Court in Gudu presided over by Justice Adebukola Banjoko yesterday found Dariye guilty of 15 out of the 23-count charge levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on offences bordering on criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of N1.1billion Ecological Funds for the state and other state’s funds.
Dariye was convicted on 11 counts bordering on criminal breach of trust and sentenced to 14years imprisonment, the maximum sentence provided for by the law. He was also convicted on four counts bordering on criminal misappropriation and sentenced to two years imprisonment, the maximum allowed. The judge however held that the sentences would run concurrently, meaning Dariye would spend a maximum of 14 years in prison.
Aside the ecological funds, Dariye was also found guilty of criminal breach of trust as regards N204 million, N53.6 million and N21 million being funds of Plateau State Government.
The court ordered the EFCC to repatriate the N80m and other funds recovered during investigation to the coffers of Plateau State government. The court however did not make any pronouncement on the N100m said to be paid to Marine Float, a company said to be owned by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, as the court was told EFCC was still investigating the matter.
Dariye’s conviction came barely two weeks after the same court sentenced a former governor of Taraba State, Rev. Jolly Nyame to 14 years imprisonment for similar offences.
In the over six-hour-long judgment, Justice Banjoko held that the evidence of Inspector Peter Clerk, a retired officer of the Metropolitan Police (London), revealed that Dariye jumped bail and was declared wanted but that the Metropolitan Police had to relax their pursuit of him, when they were informed the EFCC had started his prosecution. He had told the court how investigation of fraudulent activities on Dariye’s nine accounts with Barclays Bank had led to the former governor’s arrest and questioning on money laundering.
The court was told that the funds seized from Dariye were later forfeited and repatriated to Nigeria through the Attorney General of Federation.