By Abba Gwale
The Supreme Court will today Friday deliver judgment in the appeal filed by jailed former Plateau State Governor, Senator Joshua Dariye.
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 is, by his appeal, praying the Supreme Court to upturn the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which convicted him and sentenced him to 10 years in prison for diverting public funds estimated at N1.162bn 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 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.
In upholding Dariye’s conviction, the Court of Appeal noted that the prosecution, led by Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), effectively proved its allegation of criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation against the ex-governor.
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 either reverse his client’s conviction or reduce the 10-year jail term handed him by the Court of Appeal.
Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) countered and urged the court to dismiss the appeal and uphold the concurrent findings of the two lower courts.