Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame, the former governors of the states of Taraba and Plateau, respectively, have been released from the Kuje prison in Abuja.
This comes three months after the President Buhari-led Council of State approved the pardon of the inmates and 159 other people, a decision that sparked protests.
On August 8, 2022, at 2:15 p.m., the former governors were released.
The former governors were released into the waiting arms of their families around 10 am on Monday, according to an unnamed eyewitness who was not part of the squad.
According to the sources, Dariye was serving a 10-year sentence for fraud totalling N1.126 billion, while Nyame was to serve a 12-year prison term for misappropriating N1.64 billion while acting as the governor of Taraba.
Based on health and age, it was learned, that the squad was pardoned.
The Nigerian Correctional Service’s FCT Spokesperson, Chukwuedo Humphrey, told reporters that they had been released.
Senator Joshua Chibi Dariye, the former governor of Plateau State, was given a 14-year prison term on corruption allegations, 13 years after he had jumped bail in London for money laundering.
Dariye was found guilty of 15 out of the 23 counts brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for offences involving criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of N1.1 billion in Ecological Funds for the State and other state funds by an FCT High Court in Gudu presided over by Justice Adebukola Banjoko.
Dariye was given the maximum penalty permitted by law—14 years in prison—after being found guilty on 11 counts of criminal breach of trust. In addition, he was found guilty of four offences that had criminal misappropriation overtones and received a maximum term of two years in jail. However, the judge decided that the sentences would run concurrently, which meant that Dariye might serve a total of 14 years in jail.
Dariye was also found guilty of criminal breach of trust about N204 million, N53.6 million, and N21 million, which were monies belonging to the Plateau State Government, in addition to the ecological funds.
The court instructed the EFCC to return the N80 million and other funds found during the investigation to the government of Plateau State. The court was informed that the EFCC was still looking into the N100m that was allegedly given to Marine Float, a business that was allegedly owned by former vice president Atiku Abubakar.
Just a few weeks before Dariye’s conviction, the same court had sentenced Rev. Jolly Nyame, a former governor of Taraba State, to 14 years in prison for comparable offences.
Dariye jumped bail and was declared wanted, but the Metropolitan Police had to ease up on their pursuit of him when they learned the EFCC had begun his prosecution, according to Inspector Peter Clerk, a retired officer of the Metropolitan Police (London), in the over six-hour-long ruling by Justice Banjoko. He had explained to the court how the former governor had been detained and interrogated about money laundering as a result of an inquiry into fraudulent activity on Dariye’s nine accounts with Barclays Bank.
The money taken from Dariye was later forfeited and sent back to Nigeria by the Attorney General of the Federation, the court was informed.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission filed charges against the former governor of Taraba State, Jolly Nyame in May 2007 for allegedly diverting N1.64 billion.
The commission accused Mr Nyame of leading the illegal transfer of cash from the Taraba state’s treasury to a business, Saman Global, for the purchase of office supplies and stationery that were never delivered. This was part of a 41-count fraud accusation.
Additionally, he was charged with misusing the public’s trust and fraudulently profiting himself.
Judge Adebukola Banjoko provided a comprehensive analysis of the testimony presented in court that led to the judgement in a lengthy ruling that went on for more than five hours.
Mr Nyame, who had been called to stand by the court, appeared unperturbed as the verdict was read. He remained on the court for more than 20 minutes after the session.
The judge added in her speech that there were several confessions of fraudulent transactions and that there was a mountain of evidence against the defendant.
Even the defence witnesses, according to the judge, made references to the acts included in the defendant’s criminal complaint. She compared the actions of those who committed the specified offences to the tale of Alibaba and the forty thieves.
Mrs Banjoko cited a document as the foundation for the fraudulent transactions and questioned Mr Nyame’s “ratification” of the paper, despite the former governor’s denials that he was aware of the crime.
The judge also questioned why Mr Nyame didn’t look into the unauthorised transfer of monies while he was in charge, and Mr Nyame admitted as much in court.
The judge also took note of witness admissions, including those of Saman Global’s managing director, that his company was not involved in the distribution of stationery.
Abubakar Tutari, Mr Nyame’s commissioner of finance, testified in Mrs Banjoko’s account of the numerous instances of administrative errors in the transfer of funds to Saman Global.
Although the defendant claims to be unaware of the transactions, the judge stated that either Nyame or Mr Tutari must have lied to the court.
They started dating at that point and remained together until 1999 when he was governor. He held the position of commissioner during this time in the four ministries of finance, rural development, water resources, sport, and youth development. they were close, so.
The judge added that Mr Tutari had expressed his willingness to refrain from biting the hand that fed him after telling the court that the defendant was his benefactor.
Nevertheless, the judge noted that Mr Tutari disregarded the permanent secretary and gave the accountant instructions to pay N250 million after hearing the testimony of witnesses in court.
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