Former Governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye has submitted that the events that led to his imprisonment were politically motivated.
While stressing his innocence in the N1.126bn fraud allegation that eventually led to his imprisonment, Dariye said as a chartered accountant, he wouldn’t have been foolish enough to operate the way the allegations against him put it if he wanted to steal public funds.
The former Governor also lampooned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for making itself a willing tool in the hands of his political enemies but added that he has left everything to God.
Naija News reports Dariye made the submission on Channels Television’s Newsnight, a pre-recorded show which airs every Monday.
According to him, “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.”
The Journey To Jail
Dariye, who was the Plateau State Governor between 1999 and 2007 was charged to court after his tenure in 2007 by the EFCC over allegations of diverting N1.126 billion from the state government’s ecological fund.
Dariye was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment in June 2018 by Justice Adebukola Banjoko of a federal capital territory (FCT) high court.
In November 2018, the sentence was reduced to 10 years by an Appeal Court sitting in Abuja.
The appellate court ruling was affirmed in March 2021 by the Supreme Court.
However, the council of state led by President Muhammadu Buhari in April 2022 granted Dariye and some other persons including former Taraba State Governor, Jolly Nyame a state pardon on the grounds of age and ill health.
Dariye was eventually released from prison in August 2022.
This article was originally published on Naija News