N1.2bn Fraud: Dariye’s Witness Tells Court, Ex-Gov Wrong To Divert Funds

A former Plateau State House of Assembly member, Geoffrey Teme, on June 27, 2016 told a Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court, Gudu, Abuja, that it was wrong for Joshua Dariye, a former governor of the state, to divert the state’s ecological fund for personal gains.

Under cross-examination by prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, Teme, the second defence witness, admitted that “it was wrong for anybody to pay government money into his personal account”.

Dariye, who is being prosecuted by the EFCC, before Justice Adebukola Banjoko, is alleged to have diverted about N1.162 billion ecological fund meant for the state, to the accounts of Ebenezer Retnan Vetures, ERV, Pinnacle Communications Limited, Union Homes, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, South-West.

“Will you be happy if the money meant for Plateau State, is paid into the account of PDP South-West and not that of the state?” Jacobs asked.

“I will not be happy,” Teme said.

The EFCC had in the course of investigations into the ecological fund, traced N100 million to the South-West PDP; N80 million to then Permanent Secretary of the Ecological Fund Office in the Presidency, Kingsley Nkomah; N250 million to Pinnacle Communications Limited; N6.8m to the PDP Plateau State; N66 million to 274 PDP wards in the state, and N176,862,900 to Ebenezer Retnan Ventures.

Teme also admitted that, “it will be wrong” to pay part of the state’s ecological fund as bribe to any officer at the Ecological Fund Office in the Presidency.

While identifying three £57,000 Barclays Bank cheques dated September 21, 2004 to be drawn from Dariye’s account with the bank, Teme admitted that he “would be surprised that Dariye runs a foreign account”, and “no, it is wrong for a serving governor to operate a foreign account”.

Teme, who served in the state’s House of Assembly between 2003 and 2006, had under cross-examination by defence counsel, G. S. Pwul, told the court that he was a member of the nine-member panel that exonerated Dariye from the corruption charges brought against him by the EFCC.

He, however, admitted to the prosecution, that the committee in its report could not exactly clear Dariye of any wrong doing, because “we were not a court and could not have pronounced him guilty or not of the offence, and no court to my knowledge has cleared him”.

Justice Banjoko has adjourned to June 29, 2016 for continuation of defence.

 

Wilson Uwujaren

Head, Media and Publicity

27 ‎June, 2016.

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