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Supreme Court Orders Dariye to Face Trial for Corruption

The Supreme Court has ordered a former Plateau State governor, Joshua Dariye, to submit himself for trial for corruption and money laundering charges before the Abuja High Court.

In a unanimous judgment by a panel of five justices, the court dismissed the former governor’s appeal for lacking in merit.

Two members of the panel, Justices Sylvester Ngwuta (who read the lead judgment) and Chima Nweze frowned at the delay tactics adopted by Dariye to prevent his trial.

While Ngwuta described it as a sad commentary on the nation’s fight against corruption, Nweze said the action of some members of the elite class, who saw themselves as being above the law, was worrisome.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in 2007 filed a 23-count charge against Dariye, and on which he was arraigned.

He was also accused of diverting state’s funds estimated at billions of naira, while in office. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, following which the trial judge, Justice Adebukola Banjoko fixed November 13, 2007 for the commencement of trial.

Before November 13, Dariye filed an application, challenging the competence of the charge and the jurisdiction of the court.

He argued that he ought to be tried at High Court of Plateau State and not a high court of the Federal Capital Territory.

On December 13, 2007, the trial judge heard and dismissed Dariye’s application for lacking in merit, a decision he appealed to the Court of Appeal, Abuja and subsequently to the Supreme Court.

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