Nine years after he was arraigned before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, trial eventually opened on Monday in the money laundering case involving former Plateau State governor, Joshua Dariye.
The prosecution called its first witness, who told the court how Dariye allegedly diverted the state’s N1.126billion Ecological Funds.
Dariye is being tried before Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the FCT High Court.
The witness, Musa Sunday (a detective with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission), who was led in evidence by lead prosecution lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said he was involved in the investigation into how Dariye allegedly diverted the funds while serving as governor.
He told the court how Dariye applied for the ecological fund in the name of his state in 2001, but collected the money in person and diverted it.
Sunday said, upon receiving the cheque for the ecological fund, the ex-governor allegedly lodged the fund with his private banker, the Abuja Branch manager of All States Trust Bank Plc (now defunct), with instruction on how it should be disbursed.
The witness said investigation by EFCC operatives revealed that the bank manager allegedly acting on Dariye’s instruction paid N100million in the name of “Peoples Democratic Party South-west” and the funds was later traced to a company – Marine Float Nigeria Limited – allegedly owned by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
He said efforts to make Atiku to refund the money had so far failed.
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