From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Supreme Court on Friday, upheld the 10-year imprisonment slammed on former Plateau governor, Joshua Dariye after his conviction on the offence of criminal breach of trust by a the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
In a unanimous judgment, a five-member panel of the court, led by Justice Mary Odili, however, upheld Dariye’s appeal in part, by quashing the one-year sentence imposed on him by the Court of Appeal in relation to the offence of criminal misappropriation.
In the judgment that was written by Justice Ejembi Eko, the apex court upheld Dariye’s concurrent conviction and sentence by Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the High Court of the FCT, as well the decision of the Court of Appeal, as it relates to the offence of criminal breach of trust.
Dariye had, in 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.
While arguing the appeal before the Supreme Court on December 17, last year, Dariye’s lawyer, Mr. 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.
Agabi, had 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.
Lawyer to the respondent, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) countered and urged the court to dismiss the appeal and uphold the concurrent findings of the two lower courts.
The Supreme Court in the judgment upheld Dariye’s conviction.