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Appeal Court Gives Reprieve to Dariye, Nyame, Reduces Sentences


Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame both former governors of of Plateau and Taraba States , Friday, had their prison sentences reduced by Appeal Court sitting in Abuja.
Dariye was sentenced to 14 years in prison on June 12 this year by Justice Adebukola Banjoko of an FCT Federal High Court sitting in Gudu.
The court convicted the former Governor and Senator for criminal breach of trust.
That of Nyame was reduced from 14 to 12 years with a fine of N525m.
Dariyee was said to have diverted the sum of N1.62bn ecological funds the Federal Government gave the state.
However, the Appeal Court reduced the sentence of 14 years to 10 years for criminal breach of trust while the conviction of diverting N1.62bn was reduced from two years to one year. The sentences are to run concurrently.
The Appeal Court ruled that the lower court aired in law when it sentenced Dariye, a first time offender, to the maximum 14 years term contained in the charge against him.
According to the court, the sentence was handed down in the season of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act which does not allow maximum sentence for first time offenders.
Also, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Friday commuted the 14-year imprisonment imposed by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Gudu, Abuja on a former Governor of Taraba State, Nyame, earlier this year, to 12 years.
But the Justice Abdul Aboki-led three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, in addition to the 12-year sentence, also imposed a fine of total sum of N525m on the convict, a fine that the lower court had omitted while dispensing the earlier sentence.
It would be recalled that FCT High Court, had on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 sentenced Dariye who was a serving Senator to 14 years’ imprisonment on charges of criminal breach of trust and criminal appropriation of the state’s funds.
Dariye, who was Governor of Plateau State from 1999 to 2007 and the current Senator representing Plateau Central, was found guilty on 15 out of the 23-count criminal charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission preferred against him.
The court said it was satisfied that the defendant, being a public officer that had full dominion and control of ecological funds the Federal Government released to Plateau State in 2001, converted and diverted same for his personal use.
It held that the ex-Governor criminally misappropriated funds and acted in violent breach of public trust and his oath of office. Nevertheless, the court discharged and acquitted the ex-Governor on 8-counts which it said was not sustained with sufficient evidence.
The court in the judgment that lasted over six hours, noted that following a Mutual Legal Assistance Request from the Metropolitan Police in London, it was uncovered that Dariye sequentially laundered funds from Nigeria into National West Ministers Bank in the United Kingdom, using an account he opened in the name of a fictitious firm.
It observed that a former detective with the Met Police, Peter Clarke who testified as the ninth prosecution witness, PW-9, during the trial, disclosed that Dariye wired funds from an account the fictitious firm- Ebenezer Rednar Ventures- operated with All States Trust Bank in Nigeria, into nine separate accounts he opened at Barclays Bank in London.
Also, Justice Banjoko delivering judgment on the 11 years old trial of former Taraba State Governor, Nyame, said she cannot help but hand down the maximum sentence after finding the defendant guilty of allegations of fraud, criminal breach of trust, amongst others.
The judge held that the judgment was meant to serve as a deterrent to other public office holders who have plans to dip their hands in the public treasury.
“The court would be failing in its responsibility if it does otherwise. As regards to the criminal breach of trust, a maximum of 14 years without the option of fine.
“Misappropriation, two years without the option of fine, gratification, seven years without the option of fine, obtaining valuable things without consideration, five years without the option of fine.
“The sentences, however, are to run concurrently”, the court held.

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