EFCC: Nyame, Dariye, Vin­di­cate Us on Al­leged Se­lec­tiv­ity

Plateau grieves over for­mer gov­er­nor

THISDAY - - NEWSXTRA -

Iy­o­bosa Uwu­gia­ren Seriki Adi­noyi

The Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion (EFCC) yes­ter­day said the con­vic­tion of two prom­i­nent mem­bers of the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC), Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye, in quick suc­ces­sion by a Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT) High Court, had put to bed the charge by crit­ics that the com­mis­sion was luke­warm in prose­cut­ing chief­tains of the rul­ing party for cor­rup­tion.

This is com­ing as more re­ac­tions have con­tin­ued to pour in from the peo­ple of Plateau State who are grief-stricken over last Tues­day’s judg­ment of a Fed­eral High Court, Abuja, that sen­tenced Dariye to 14 years im­pris­on­ment, de­scrib­ing the de­ci­sion of the court as too fierce.

Nyame and Dariye, both for­mer two-term Gover­nors of Taraba and Plateau States re­spec­tively, were re­cently con­victed and sen­tenced to many years in prison on cor­rup­tion charges.

Ac­cord­ing to EFCC, “Nyame was im­pris­oned for crim­i­nal mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion, di­ver­sion of pub­lic funds, and breach of pub­lic trust; while 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 man­aged by him) and Pin­na­cle Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Lim­ited.’’

In a state­ment is­sued by the Head of Me­dia and Public­ity of the agency, Wilson Uwu­jiaren, the com­mis­sion added that in prov­ing its case against Dariye, EFCC called 10 wit­nesses, in­clud­ing Peter Clark, a de­tec­tive con­sta­ble with the United King­dom Metropoli­tan Po­lice in Lon­don, who in­ves­ti­gated Dariye in the UK for money laun­der­ing of­fence, adding that 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.

It fur­ther stated: “Dariye, who won elec­tion to 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, thus set­ting the stage for the judg­ment of June 12.’’

For­mer Gov­er­nor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, is still be­ing pros­e­cuted in court by the EFCC 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,’’ the anti-graft agency added.

“It will be fool­hardy for any po­lit­i­cally ex­posed per­son un­der pros­e­cu­tion to think that mere change of po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion will guar­an­tee im­mu­nity from pros­e­cu­tion.’’

EFCC said 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, say­ing his pas­sage from the UK to Nige­ria and back was at the ex­pense of Nige­ria tax pay­ers.

Mean­while, more re­ac­tions have con­tin­ued to pour in from the peo­ple of Plateau State over last Tues­day’s judg­ment of a Fed­eral High Court, Abuja that sen­tenced Dariye, to 14 years im­pris­on­ment.

Re­act­ing to the sen­tence, a Se­nior Ad­vo­cate of Nige­ria (SAN) and Jos-based le­gal prac­ti­tioner, Mr. Garba Pwul, de­scribed the sen­tence as a great loss to the peo­ple of Plateau Cen­tral se­na­to­rial district and the en­tire state.

Jail­ing Dariye, ac­cord­ing to Pwul, means Plateau cen­tral has lost its seat in the Na­tional As­sem­bly, and the en­tire state be­ing in­car­cer­ated and cut off from the fed­eral and po­lit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion at the Na­tional As­sem­bly.

Also speak­ing, an el­der states­man and politi­cian in the state, Chief John Manki­lik, de­scribed the sen­tence of Dariye as “very un­for­tu­nate and sad.”

Manki­lik ap­pealed to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to tem­per jus­tice with mercy even though the judg­ment has been passed al­ready, con­sid­er­ing the con­tri­bu­tions the for­mer gov­er­nor has made po­lit­i­cally in the coun­try.

For­mer Chair­man of Mangu Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area, Mr. Caleb Mut­fwang, also said: “I felt very sad when I got the news of Dariye sen­tence.

“It’s a sad thing for Plateau State; it’s end­ing so badly for a man of great prom­ise.”

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