Former governor of Plateau State, Senator Joshua Dariye, says his imprisonment over N1.12 fraud was “politically motivated”.
Dariye, who was governor of Plateau State between 1999 and 2007, said this in an interview on Channels Television programme, Newsnight.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, in 2007, charged Dariye over allegations of diverting N1.126 billion from Plateau government’s ecological fund.
In June 2018, a judge of a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Gudu, Adebukola Banjoko, sentenced Dariye to 14 years imprisonment after finding him guilty on 15 out the 23 counts preferred against him.
But Court of Appeal in Abuja reduced Dariye’s jail sentence to 10 years in November 2018.
The Supreme Court also affirmed the conviction and the jail term of the Appeal Court in March 2021.
Dariye, while speaking on the development, 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, 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 granted pardon to Dariye and Jolly Nyame, former Taraba governor.
The two former governors, who were both jailed for fraud, were granted pardon on the grounds of age and ill health.