How ex-Governor Dariye siphoned N1.2bn Plateau’s Ecological Fund – Witness

Joshua Dariye

The trial of a former governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on a 23-count charge bordering on money laundering and diversion of funds, continued on Monday with the anti-graft agency presenting its witness before Justice Adebukola Banjoko, of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja.

Mr. Dariye is accused of diverting about N1.2 billion from the state’s Ecological Fund, to private companies and individuals.

Led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, the EFCC witness, Musa Sunday, a detective with the EFCC, provided details into the findings of the investigative team that probed the allegations against Mr Dariye.

Mr. Sunday told the court that the EFCC had in September 2004 received a petition from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, regarding a request by the UK Metropolitan Police for the investigation of some companies linked to Mr. Dariye.

“The petition of the UK Metropolitan Police was sent by the AGF to the EFCC, and it was subsequently referred to my team,” he said.

He told the court that the team immediately swung into action to investigate the banks – All State Trust Bank, Lion Bank (now Diamond Bank), companies and individuals allegedly involved in the fraud.

“At the All State Trust Bank, we discovered an account whose signatory was Haruna Dariye, but upon further investigation, we found out that the signatory was actually the defendant (Joshua Dariye),” he said.

According to him, it was discovered that the mandate of the account at the bank, had no passport photo on it, but upon interrogation of the bank manager, it was discovered that Mr. Dariye owned the account and had on opening it, requested for a waiver, which enabled him to open it without following the due process of affixing his passport photo on the mandate form.

“We obtained the instruments used to open the account with the bank and upon forensic examination, it was confirmed that the signatory to the account was Dariye,” he said.

Report of the forensic unit, confirming the signature to be that of Mr. Dariye was accepted as exhibit by the court.

Mr. Sunday further told the court that investigations revealed that Mr. Dariye instructed the bank to disburse the money meant for the state’s Ecological Fund into private companies that included Ebenezer Ratnen Ventures and Pinnacle Communications Limited, instead of paying the money into the Plateau State Government account.

“We studied the accounts linked to Ebenezer Ratnen Ventures with the bank, and discovered financial inflows including money from the Ecological Fund,” he said.

The handwritten instruction asking the bank to disburse N1.162 billion to the companies was tendered as exhibit in the court.

Although G. S. Pwul, SAN, counsel to Mr. Dariye contended the admissibility of the handwritten instruction, Justice Banjoko overruled and accepted it as exhibit.

Justice Banjoko thereafter adjourned till January 26 for continuation of the trial, expressing her determination to ensure a speedy determination of the case.

Since his first arraignment on July 13, 2007 at the Federal High Court, Abuja, Mr. Dariye had denied any wrongdoing and had his legal team had filed several motions to delay the trial.

Following his “plea of not guilty” to the charges preferred against him, the court had set aside November 13, 2007 for the prosecution to open its case.

On the date fixed for trial to commence, Mr. Dariye filed a motion before the court praying for an order to quash the 23-count charge preferred against him on diverse grounds, including lack of locus standi to prosecute him and jurisdiction to hear and determine the case.

Mr. Dariye’s application was dismissed by the court on December 10, 2007. He proceeded on appeal, which also suffered the same fate on June 17, 2010.

Not satisfied, the former governor proceeded to the Supreme Court on July 13, 2010.

The Supreme Court, in its judgment delivered on February 27, 2015, found the appeal to be lacking in merit and consequently dismissed it and ordered the court to commence expeditious trial of the former governor.

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  • duwdu

    Whoa… The Supreme Court took FIVE years to rule on Dariye’s case and give the go ahead that the case should again continue at the trial court! What normally goes on in the minds of these Justices that they don’t flinch delaying justice for this long? This has been sad, indeed. To God, the new Administration of Criminal Justice law of 2015, that makes it mandatory that a criminal trial must continue daily until judgement is delivered, MUST be made to now work O!

    As it is, the new law is very fair to both sides the prosecution and defense. I say this, because it makes the provision that objections and appeals being raised during trial, (such as those employed by Dariye to delay his trial for this long so far,) should just be noted and packaged along with the judgement to an appellate court, should there be a need for any of the sides to appeal the ruling of the trial court. Please, in the name of justice and God, ALL concerned and saddled with the responsibility should now let this work na, haba.

    P34c3
    …..

  • GbemigaO

    8 years to start hearing a case that looks so straightforward ! No justice in this country !

  • sir Oscie

    Nine years to start trial?

    Nigeria justice system is honestly a laughing stock.

    Honestly, we need strong institutions for things to be done properly.

    9 years is a very long time and I believe many evidence would by now be nowhere and some witnesses either gone or died.

    Anyway let’s hope for the best and an end to corruption in Nigeria.

    God help Nigeria. #SayNoToCorruption

  • Sir Demo

    It took the Supreme Court FIVE years to dismiss this criminal’s application! Haba Mr CJN, is this as well due to EFCC?

  • Nuorah

    My advice to President Buhari, he should review our judiciary system so that we can be having a speedy trial for corrupt politicians irrespective of political parties.

  • Mr. Abdin

    Corruption need to be fought by all means so that it won’t kill our country Nigeria. But we hope the right thing will be done in order to move our country forward, though Nine(9) good years is worrisome God bless our country and no to corruption.

  • ayobamiba

    . Upon all this corruption induced media trial,no single corrupt person have been properly charged with any convincing evidence that is capable of securing conviction under the kind of porous justice system we operate today. If buhari is fighting corruption and citizens like sanusi,timpre Silva, amaechi,fashola,fayemi,segun oni,tinubu,atiku ,obj are still walking as free men ,then this anti corruption war has big question mark. while buhari is busy chasing the shadows of the past ,decipating all his energies on the past,corruption is still having big owambe parties under his nose.let truthful Nigerians investigate the activities in government agencies like customs,immigration, police ,judiciary, universities ,nafdac etc and see if any thing have truthfully changed from what obtained before buhari.fighting corruption in Nigeria without a solid ,transparent and unambigus anti corruption framework is a waste of public resources and much more when all the efforts are geared towards the past with a biased ,discriminatory and malicious mindset ,while the present is left without any attention.
    Enough of all this corruption induced media dramatization, buhari should develope a clear and unambiguous anticurruption road map bill and send to Nass on the real and brutal war against corruption with a separate anti corruption agencies peopled by highly intelligent legal minds and tried and proved incorruptible Nigerians who are very passionately angry against corruption .let d duration for every corruption case be nothing more than 18 months .let specialized anti corruption courts be set up like tribunals and let them be fully independent from our normal judiciary, let them have powers to summon and stripe even the President of his immunity once prima facie case had been established against him after due diligence investigations by crack team of unbiased, untainted and uncompromising investigators.let both the anti corruption court, agencies, etc be insulated from executive, legislative and judicial pandering /interference and let them be fully independent with full powers to arrest even the President if he puts himself into corrupt practices.the appeal arising from the tribunals shall go straight to the anti corruption supreme courts which shall be solely established for that purpose and all appeals must be decided within 90 days.let total forfeiture of all life acquisitions and properties of a convicted corrupt persons and death penalty be the punishment for corrupt practices. Also corruption must be defined to include wilful marginalization or cheating of any zone or citizens of Nigeria because of their tribe,faith,religion or ethnicity in the discharge of government polices,appointments and sharing of political or government patronages in Nigeria. It is too shameful to associate this malicious bizarre almajiri dance with democracy and justice. corruption war in Nigeria shall not be successful when the actions and inactions of authorities concerned are tainted with bias,nepotism, wilful malicious tendencies, discrimination against citizens based on tribe /religion, political inclinations etc. A corruption war that is not fought on clear and unambiguous transparent framework is bound to pull Nigerians twards tribal,ethnic ,religious and parochial narratives. It is funny reading the reactions of some bewitched, jaundiced and ethnic /tribal malicious bigots hailing buhari for bastardizing our national institutions through this malicious vendetta. If we wilfully destroy all our national institutions, our nation shall be d worst for that.300 million bail for tearing a paper not a cheque leaf is like dancing naked at a market square. The difference is too glaring and utterly discriminatory for any sane mind to ignore. Under the same constitution, laws and justice system, a man accused of stealing $2.1b about 600b naira was given a bail for 250m naira,the one accused of receiving 400m and tearing his statement written on paper was given bail at 700 million, another one accused of stealing 1.7 billion naira was given a bail for 100 million naira.Nigerians who are beclouded with hate and tribal bigotry can’t see the danger of Nigeria fighting corruption on this kind of narrative but patriotic citizens of Nigeria are seeing the real danger in this kind of leadership because after buhari ,surely another President must arise.the worst form of corruption is d corruption of injustice, bias,discrimination, inequality, cheating and measuring with unequal scales.

    • Mr Wise

      How much you chop from the money