A former governor of Plateau state, Joshua Dariye has said his imprisonment was “politically motivated. ”He made this assertion in an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight.
Recall that Dariye was jailed for involving in a sum of N1.126bn fraud.
Dariye was governor of Plateau between 1999 and 2007.
In 2007, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged Dariye over allegations of diverting N1.126 billion from the Plateau government’s ecological fund.
In June 2018, Adebukola Banjoko, judge of a federal capital territory (FCT) high court, sentenced Dariye to 14 years imprisonment.
But, a court of appeal in Abuja, in November 2018, reduced the sentence to 10 years.
The supreme court also affirmed the conviction and the jail term of the appeal court in March 2021.
Speaking on the development, Dariye said as a chartered accountant, he would not have stolen in that manner.
He said, “My issue was political in the sense that the same charge was taken to Kaduna high court, and Justice Liman dismissed that case.”
“They were not happy, they carried the same document to the Plateau state house of assembly and the whole amount we are talking about is N1.1 billion.
“The judge asked if Mr Dariye wanted to convert money into his personal use, will he use his letterhead and write the bank ‘Pls distribute as follows?”
“I am a chartered accountant and I wouldn’t have been that foolish. If I wanted to steal, I would have lodged the money in commission and turnover but that never happened.
“But because it was politically motivated, the other vehicle of prosecution – EFCC – became the only veritable tool. I don’t think there was any sense of justice but I leave the rest to God. Time will tell.”
In April, the council of state meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari pardoned Dariye and Jolly Nyame, a former governor of Taraba state.
The former governors were granted pardons on the grounds of age and ill health.