THE Supreme Court has upheld the 10-year imprisonment imposed on Joshua Dariye, former Plateau State governor, on the offence of criminal breach of trust.
A five-man panel of the court, led by Mary Odili, in a unanimous judgment on Friday, upheld Dariye’s appeal in part, quashing the one-year sentence imposed on him by court of appeal in relation to the offence of criminal misappropriation.
Ejembi Eko prepared the lead judgment, which was read on Friday by Helen Ogunwumiju. Other members of the panel included: Lawal Garba, Samuel Oseji and Tijani Abubakar.
The Supreme Court upheld Dariye’s concurrent conviction and sentence by the trial court and the court of appeal on the offence of criminal breach of trust.
Dariye had, in his appeal, prayed the 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 1.162 billion naira while he was governor.
A three-man panel of the court of appeal, led by Stephen Adah, in its decision, upheld an earlier judgement by Adebukola Banjoko of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), delivered on June 12, 2018.
The trial court convicted Dariye on 15-count charge relating to 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).
In upholding Dariye’s conviction, the appeals court noted that the prosecution, led by Rotimi Jacobs, effectively proved its allegation of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation against the ex-governor.
The 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.
It proceeded to reduce the 14 year-sentence for the offence of criminal breach of trust to 10 years and reduced the two years sentence for criminal misappropriation to one year.