The renewed 9-year-old trial of a former former Plateau state governor, Joshua Dariye, who is prosecuted on a 23-count charge bordering on money laundering and diversion of funds, continues.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has closed its case after the cross-examination of its 10th witness, Kawu Mohammed, an operative at the EFCC’s Asset Forfeiture and Recovery Section.
The trial led by Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Gudu, Abuja, on Monday, was adjourned till June 10, 2016 for the defence to open its case. Mr Dariye pleaded not guilty to the 23-count amended charge.
EFCC’s investigation and drama over property
According to Mr Mohammed, the unit was created in 2009 for executing court orders of interim forfeiture of assets owned by individuals being prosecuted by the EFCC.
“Among the court orders we received was that of Joshua Chibi Dariye, which was an interim forfeiture order pending the determination of the charges against him,” he said.
Mr. Mohammed noted that out of the 11 properties on the list of forfeited properties belonging to Dariye, 10 were in Jos, and one in Abuja. Since 2012 the agency had recovered N67 million in rent of the property being managed by the assets managers.
“We proceeded to Jos, Plateau State for inspection and we were able to trace them but we could not take possession due to security challenges. When we went for inspection of Yelwa Club, one of the properties, we were accosted by some people who trailed us; they came in three motorbikes, and a Peugeot car.
There was a little drama between them and the mobile policemen that came with me, so I ordered my men to go into the vehicle so that we can avoid unnecessary confrontation. We were able to take over possession of the property in Abuja belonging to him located at 14 Frederick Chiluba Close, Asokoro, and it is being managed by the assets managers of the EFCC.”
Recall that during his time as governor, Mr Dariye was arrested in London, England on January 20, 2004, with large sums of money. He is accused of stealing about $9m of public funds and of money laundering. In 2006 he was impeached and reinstated.
In 2007, the EFCC preferred 23 counts of money laundering involving alleged diversion of about N1.126billion Plateau State Government’s ecological funds against Dariye.
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