Senator Joshua Dariye, a former governor of Platte State, claims his conviction on corruption allegations brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was motivated by politics.
He made this claim in an interview for the weekly pre-recorded program Newsnight on Channels Television.
“My issue was political in the sense that the same charge was taken to Kaduna High Court, Justice Liman dismissed that case,” he said.
“They were not happy, and they carried the same document to the Plateau State House of Assembly, and the whole amount we are talking about is N1.1 billion.”
Dariye broke down the money he was accused of using during the interview, claiming that N800 million went into the Plateau State account, N100 million was given to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) South-West, and N100 million went to the ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s campaign organisation, among other places.
The ex-governor estimated the amount of money to be approximately N4 million and said it was the commission on turnover.
The former governor of the Plateau claimed that if he had planned to steal the money, he would have laundered it through commission and turnover.
He added, “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.”
Dariye was found guilty of stealing N1.16 billion and given a 14-year prison term while serving as the governor of the Plateau from 1999 to 2007. Although the Supreme Court upheld his conviction, the Court of Appeal in Abuja ultimately reduced his sentence to 10 years.
President Muhammadu Buhari pardoned him in April, along with the former governor of Taraba, Jolly Nyame. However, on August 8, the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) released them.