Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has said that the conviction of two top members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye in quick succession by a Federal Capital Territory High Court has proved wrong the often repeated charge by critics and cynics that the commission is lukewarm in prosecuting chieftains of the ruling party for corruption.
Nyame and Dariye who are both former two-term governors of Taraba and Plateau State respectively were convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison on corruption charges.
Nyame was found guilty and convicted for criminal misappropriation, diversion of public funds, and breach of public trust; and Dariye, criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds. In the course of Nyame’s trial, the prosecution called 14 witnesses and presented documentary evidence, which among other things revealed that the N250 million was shared and never utilised for the purpose for which it was approved. A total of N180 million was diverted to the bank account of Salman Global Ventures Limited, which provided no services for the state.
On his part, Dariye diverted about N1.16 billion Ecological Fund meant for the state, to his personal use, including transferring monies to Ebenezer Retnan Ventures (an unregistered company managed by him) and Pinnacle Communications Limited. In proving its case against Dariye, EFCC called 10 witnesses, including Peter Clark, a detective constable with the UK Metropolitan Police in London, who investigated Dariye in the UK for money laundering offence.
Both trials had been ongoing for 11 years and towards the end of the proceedings, the two convicts changed their political camps, moving from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party to the ruling APC. Dariye who won election into the senate on the platform of the PDP decamped to the ruling APC, at a critical phase of his trial, when the prosecution had called all its vital witnesses and conviction appeared imminent. Not surprisingly, this fueled speculation that the gambit was a calculated move to stave off imminent conviction.