April 16, 2021

Supreme Court slashes Senator Joshua Dariye’s jail sentence

Sen.

The Supreme Court has dismissed Senator Joshua Dariye’s conviction on criminal misappropriation of funds carried a two year jail sentence, reports say.

The court however upheld the second charge of criminal breach of trust which carried a two year jail sentence.

The Supreme Court on Friday delivered the judgment in the appeal filed by the jailed former Plateau Governor.

A five-man panel of the court, led by Justice Mary Odili, had, after hearing the appeal on December 17, 2020, fixed judgment for March 12, 2021.

Dariye, by his appeal, prayed the Supreme Court to upturn the November 16, 2018 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which convicted him and sentenced him to 10 years for diverting public funds estimated at N1.162billion while he was the Governor.

A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Stephen Adah, in its decision, upheld an earlier judgement by Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), delivered on June 12, 2018.

The trial court convicted Dariye on 15 counts relating to the offences of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation, contained in the 23-count charge on which he was tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The Appeal Court however faulted the trial court for convicting Dariye on counts 12 and 23, which it said the prosecution did not prove.

It also faulted the trial court for imposing the maximum sentences on both offences of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation.

The Appeal Court proceeded to reduce the 14 years sentence for the offence of criminal breach of trust to 10 years, and reduced the two years sentence for criminal misappropriation to one year.

Arguing the appeal before the Supreme Court on December 17 last year, Dariye’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN), a former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), asked the court to eith reverse his client’s conviction or reduce the 10-year jail term handed him by the Court of Appeal.

Agabi, after adopting his written argument, prayed the court to allow his client’s appeal and set aside Dariye’s conviction and sentence.

He argued that Dariye’s conviction was speculative and urged the court to show mercy on him.

He however added that, should the court be minded to disallow the appeal and affirm the decision of the Court of Appeal, it should reduce the sentence substantially.