Tuesday, June 12, 2018 9:45 pm
An FCT High Court sitting in Gudu, Abuja on Tuesday sentenced former Plateau State governor, Joshua Dariye to 14 years in prison for misappropriation of N1.162 billion ecological fund for the state.
Dariye was found guilty and convicted on 15 out of the 23 count charge bothering on criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation of Plateau State ecological funds to the tune of N1.162billion.
The former governor was sentenced to a maximum of 14 years for criminal breach of trust with additional two years for criminal misappropriation which were to run concurrently.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Adebukola Banjoko said that she was overwhelmed by the brazen act of looting of nearly half a billion of Plateau state ecological fund.
She said that the bank statements obtained during prosecution by the EFCC showed that the convict was richer than the state.
Banjoko, who said that she had no personal animosity against the convict, noted that outside the ecological fund, the state funds were also looted beyond expectations.
The judgment, which is 11years in the making, started in 2007 with amended charges of money laundering and diversion of Plateau ecological funds.
The convict, who has been a serving senator representing Plateau Central senatorial district, lost out in the case after calling 16 defence witnesses.
The convict had filed an application before the Court of Appeal challenging the charges and the jurisdiction of the court in which the trial was to commence.
The Supreme Court, on Feb.27, dismissed the convict’s appeal and ordered him to face his trial.
The EFCC had subsequently brought in a star witness from the United Kingdom, Mr Peter Clark, a former London Metropolitan policeman who had investigated him as well as James Ibori for money laundering.
The EFCC was able to establish that Dariye had used his fictitious company, Ebenezer Retnan Ventures Ltd, to siphon not only the funds of Plateau state but the ecological fund as well.
The Commission proved with evidence including bank statements that Dariye plundered the state treasury and also shared the ecological funds to party beneficiaries and others.