The former governor of Plateau state, Joshua Chibi Dariye who governed between May 29, 1999 and May 18, 2004 under the auspice of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has been sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.
Recall that Dariye was arrested along in London, England on 20 January 2004, with large sums of money but because serving governors have immunity from criminal prosecution, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, waited until 2007 to press charges against him.
The success recorded in this fight against official misdemeanor had been warmly received yet right thinking members of the society are asking why the EFCC had not been up to task in matters of prosecuting past governors of All Progressives Congress, APC, extractions considering the fact that an anti-grant agency should at all times be independent of political leanings. The public wants to see past governors currently in the APC also jailed for corruption.
Delivering judgment on the Ex-Plateau governor’s case, Justice Adebukola Banjoko, in a verdict of over six hours, convicted the ex-governor on 15 out the 23 counts preferred against him; ruling that all the sentences would run concurrently, implying that the convict would have to spend 14 years in jail.
According to the 1999 constitution, the ex-governor for the two categories of offences of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation are punishable to the maximum as provided under sections 315 and 309 of the Penal Code Act, respectively.
“I can’t imagine such a brazen act. Is it the transfer of as much as about half a billion naira from the state’s Ecological Fund into a personal venture account? Everybody is a victim here,” the judge said.
She added, “This is a trauma of the trial; and there should be no compromise to corruption, by whatever shade or colour, or region, rich or poor; corruption will forever be corruption.
“Every case is different on its own, and I have no personal animosity, I’m just doing my job the way I know how to, and not only the Ecological Funds were misappropriated, but funds from the Plateau State government.”