Nearly eight years after he was first arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered a former Plateau State governor, Joshua Dariye, to submit himself for trial on corruption and money laundering charges before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The apex court, in a unanimous ruling by a panel of five justices, threw out the former governor’s appeal for lacking in merit.
Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, who read the judgment, resolved the four issues for determination by the court against the appellant.
“So, the appeal has no merit. It is hereby dismissed. The appellant should go back to the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to stand his trial on the charges levelled against him”, he ruled.
The EFCC had in 2007 arraigned Mr. Dariye before Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory High Court on a 23-count charge.
He pleaded not guilty, and the trial judge fixed November 13, 2007 for commencement of trial.
But before the adjourned date, Mr. Dariye challenged the jurisdiction and competence of the court. His application was dismissed on December 13, 2007 as lacking in merit but the former governor appeal the ruling.
Again he lost at the Court of Appeal. He proceeded to the Supreme Court, which has now directed him to face trial.
This legal rigmarole was not lost on the panel of justices of the apex court.
Two members of the panel, Justices Sylvester Ngwuta, who read the judgment, and Chima Nweze condemned the antics of the former governor in trying to frustrate his trial.
Justice Ngwuta described the action of the accused as a sad commentary on the nation’s fight against corruption.