Justice Adebukola Banjoko of a Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court, Gudu, Abuja yesterday sentenced a former governor of Plateau state, Joshua Dariye to 14 years imprisonment after finding him guilty of diversion of public funds to the tune of N1.126 billion, breach of public trust and his oath of office.
Banjoko found Dariye guilty of 15 out of the 23-count charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. He was said to have used an account belonging to Ebenezer Reitner Ventures, a company he owns, to divert ecological fund. The account was domiciled in Sun Trust Bank
“In the absence of concrete evidence justifying these payments, it can safely be described as misappropriation,” the judge ruled.
Before the judgement was handed, counsel to Dariye, Paul Erokoro, pleaded for a light sentence, saying, “Appeals to your judgement do not succeed, we will fall on your mercy. The prisons are congested.
“They misled the governor, it is the bank, they said he didn’t have to present anything.”
But counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, said Dariye did not deserve a light sentence because he “didn’t show remorse”.
Jacobs asked the court not to give Dariye a light sentence in order to serve as a deterrent to those holding public offices.
“He is not remorseful, his case should serve as a deterrence,” he said.
It was while the prosecution lawyer was speaking that Dariye suddenly stood in court and asked the EFCC lawyer to be merciful.
“Be merciful. You are a Christian, your name is Jacob,” he said.
The court found the former governor guilty of criminal breach of trust and sentenced him to 14 years jail term, while handing him another two years on each of the count relating to criminal misappropriation.
The sentences, according to Justice Banjoko, are without the option of fine, and would run concurrently.
The judge however noted the plea of Erokoro, but added that “there should not be compromise in corruption. Corruption is corruption.”