The Supreme Court today delivered judgment in the appeal filed by jailed former Plateau State Governor, Senator Joshua Chibi Dariye.
A five-man panel of the court, led by Justice Mary Odili, dismissed the conviction of criminal breach meted out to Dariye which carried a 10-year sentence, and instead did uphold the misappropriation of funds which carries a 2-year sentence.
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Dariye, a former Governor of Plateau State (1999-2003) was in 2018 convicted by a FCT High Court by Justice Adebukola Banjoko.
Prior to the ruling, the counsel to the accused, Paul Eriko had pleaded with trial judge, Banjoko to show mercy.
“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.” he said
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Firing back, Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said Dariye did not deserve a light sentence because he “didn’t show remorse” and that a strong sentence would serve as a deterrence to those holding public offices.
“He is not remorseful, his case should serve as a deterrence,” Jacobs said. At this point, Dariye said he wanted to speak.
“Have mercy, you are a Christian, your name is Jacob,” he said.
The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Gudu, Abuja, on Tuesday 12th June, 2018 afterwards, sentenced Dariye to 14 years’ imprisonment on 15 counts relating to the offences of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation of funds amounting to (1.162 billion naira) while he was the Governor of Plateau State, as contained in the 23-count charge on which he was tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
In upholding Dariye’s conviction, the Court of Appeal in November 2018, noted that the prosecution, led by Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), effectively proved its allegation of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation against the ex-governor.
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The Appeal Court however faulted the trial court for convicting Dariye on counts 12 and 23, which it said the prosecution did not prove.
It also faulted the trial court for imposing the maximum sentences on both offences of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation.
The Appeal Court proceeded to reduce the 14 years sentence for the offence of criminal breach of trust to 10 years, and reduced the two years sentence for criminal misappropriation to one year.
Arguing the appeal before the Supreme Court on December 17 last year, Dariye’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN), a former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), asked the court to either reverse his client’s conviction or reduce the 10-year jail term handed him by the Court of Appeal.
Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) countered and urged the court to dismiss the appeal and uphold the concurrent findings of the two lower courts.
Supreme Court dismisses Joshua Dariye’s conviction on criminal breach of trust which carried a 10 year jail sentence, The court however upheld the second charge of criminal misappropriation of funds preferred against him which carried a 2 year jail sentence
Photo Credit: Getty