Joshua Dariye, Rev Jolly Nyame, Ngilari, Orji Uzor Kalu, List Of Convicted Ex-Governors Is Growing
By Iheme Kelechi 2 months ago
Some analysts, political and public commentators are of diverse opinion following the 12 year jail term handed down to Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, the Senate Chief Whip and former governor of Abia state by Justice Mohammed Idris on thursday 5th of December 2019.
Some analysts are asking if the jailing of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu should be seen as a plus for President Mohammadu Buhari’s anti-graft war against corruption.
While some are giving accolades to the Buhari led administration for its tough stance on corruption irrespective of party affiliation, and the jailing of ex-governors who have been found guilty of corruption and money laundering, others are still of the opinion that the war on corruption is still very selective, citing cases of APC chieftains who are free despite huge corruption cases hanging on their neck, yet no investigation, no prosecution and no conviction.
To counter the alleged selectivity of the war against corruption by the President Buhari APC led government, those in support, have cited the jailing of Senator Joshua Dariye - a former governor and serving senator from Plateau state, an APC member. They are also of the opinion that the conviction and jailing of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, an APC Senator, and Chief whip of the Senate has shown that the war on corruption is not selectiveRelated: Atiku Prescribes Silver Bullet To Killings, Violence In Nigeria
Senator Joshua Dariye:
Photo Detail: (Joshua Dariye, former Plateau state governor and senator, huddled in the dock awaiting the verdict of fate for pilfering N1.6 billion public funds at a high court of the federal capital territory - FCT).
Recall that before Senator Joshua Dariye was handed a 14-year jail sentence by Justice Adebukola Banjoko, the presiding judge, he begged for mercy – a luxury he did not accord to the people of Plateau who endured his troubled administration.
Dariye was found guilty of 14 counts charges, out of the 23 charges preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Before the judge passed her judgment, counsel to Dariye - Paul Eroko, pleaded for a light sentence.
“Appeals to your judgement do not succeed; we will fall on your mercy. The prisons are congested,” Eroko said.
“They misled the governor, it is the bank; they said he didn’t have to present anything.”
But Rotimi Jacobs, counsel to the EFCC, argued that Joshua Dariye did not deserve a light sentence because he “did not show remorse”.
It was at this point, that already weeping and heartbroken Joshua Dariye said he wanted to speak.
“Have mercy, you are a Christian, your name is Jacob,” Dariye pleaded.
Senator Orji Uzor Kalu:
On Thursday 5th December 2019, Chief whip of the senate and former governor of Abia state (1999 - 2007) Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, was finally convicted and jailed for 12 years, having being found guilty of fraud and money laundering to the tune of N7.2billion.
Reality jarred Kalu out of the fantasy that he was going home to the comfort and luxury of his bed and mansion after his conviction for money laundering by a federal high court in Lagos was read out.
After the pronouncement of a 12-year jail sentence by the presiding judge - Mohammad Idris, and prison warders approach towards him with handcuffs to be taken, Kalu made smart and fast move as he resorted to diplomacy.
“Where are you taking us to now? Please don’t handcuff me. I will follow you,” Orji Uzor Kalu pleaded.
According to one analyst, he described Kalu’s fall as being louder than the crash of Jericho wall. He is of the opinion because the Senate Chief whip had made himself a mouthpiece of President Muhammadu Buhari in the South East. Maybe, he was thinking that it will save him from the clutches of EFCC and get him freedom from the Court.
Rev Jolly Nyame:
Rev Jolly Nyame, a former Governor of Taraba State, was sentenced to prison by an FCT High Court in Abuja, for fraud.
Nyame was charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 41-count of allegedly diverting N1.64billion during his eight-year tenure as governor of Taraba state, between 1999 to 2007.
Among other allegations, witnesses provided by EFCC said Nyame approved the diversion of various funds to the tune of N345 million to a company, Saman global, within five weeks in 2005.
Although Nyame denied knowing the company, the court found him guilty of breaching public trust after noting that he confirmed approving the memo ordering a transfer of the funds to the said company.
Adebukola Bankole, the presiding judge, held that Nyame was guilty of 27, out of the total of 41 charges leveled against him by the EFCC.
Specifically, Nyame was sentenced to 2, 5, 7 and 14 years in jail respectively after being convicted on 4 count charges that included receiving gratification, obtaining public funds without due consideration, and criminal breach of trust.
However, the terms were to run concurrently, meaning that Rev Jolly Nyame will only serve 14 years in jail unless a higher court thinks otherwise, said the presiding judge then, and indeed, a higher court thought otherwise.
On November 16, 2018, an Appeal Court sitting in Abuja, the nations seat of power upheld Rev Jolly Nyame's Jail Sentence but then only for 12 Years. He was also asked to pay a fine of N495million.
Now, following Nyame's reduction of jail term and inclusion of fine, counsel to Orji Uzor Kalu, who has threatened to appeal the judgement by the Lagos High Court, will also push for outright cancellation or reduction of the jail term reduction of the jail term.
Is this a plus for President Buhari or not?
On the issue of selective prosecution and conviction, an Abuja based journlist and writer, Fredrick Nwabufo had this to say;
"For example, the case of Babachir Lawal, former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), is sputtering in court despite his indictment by the government he served."
"Also, there is a petition against Bola Tinubu, national leader of the APC, for alleged money laundering at the EFCC. Tinubu admitted transporting cash in bullion vans on the eve of the 2019 election to his house. But the anti-graft agency has not moved a muscle to investigate the allegation."
"When Ibrahim Magu, acting EFCC chairman, was asked about the petition against Jagaban by a journalist, he snubbed the inquiry, and said - next question, please?’’
"As a matter of fact, there are other members of the APC and those in the Buhari fraternity who have corruption allegations hanging on their necks, but the EFCC is yet to crack up a case against them."
"So, on what grounds should Buhari’s anti-corruption war be toasted? If the regime is applauded for the jailing of Dariye and Orji Kalu, how about other cases it has failed to take up or conclude?"
"The fact is, Buhari’s anti-corruption war is still selective. And as Abubakar Tsav, former Lagos police commissioner, said: ‘’It has no impact on Nigerians.’’
"However, I will commend the judiciary for not bending despite influences to have some cases of corruption compromised. The termination of Kalu’s 12-year-old bout at the trial court is a big point for the institution. The hero here is this arm of government."
"But beyond this feat, we must look into another tragic offence against Nigerians. Why is a senator convicted of fraud still receiving allowances and salaries as a member of the senate?"
"As of December 2018, Dariye was paid N85.5 million in prison, and as of May 2019 his allowances had risen to N171 million. Obviously, the same immoral privilege will be accorded to Orji Kalu. Is this not troubling?"
"What it means is that tax-payers will continue to fund the lifestyles of individuals who have been convicted of stealing from them."
"Justice is not final when people, who have been declared vandals of the public purse, are still maintained by public money," he concluded.
So to you, is there hope for Nigeria and the Nigeria judicial system?
I strongly believe there is hope for Nigeria.
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