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    Categories: On the GoTheCable SpecialTop Stories

First Nyame, now Dariye. Who is the next big fish going to jail?

Cases of former governors, who have been on corruption trial since 2007, have lingered in courts without meaningful convictions. But things are changing. Two of them, Joshua Dariye (Plateau) and Jolly Nyame (Taraba), have been sentenced to prison without an option of fine.

On May 30, Jolly Nyame, former governor of Taraba state, was sentenced to 14 years in prison by a federal high court in Abuja, for diverting N1.64bn.

On June 12, Joshua Dariye, former governor of Plateau state, was also jailed for 16 years for diverting N1.126bn from Plateau government’s ecological funds through an unregistered company of his.

However, this is a clear departure from the past when trials ended with mild penalties, as the case was with DSP Alamieyeseigha, former governor of Bayelsa state, who was sentenced to two years imprisonment in 2007 on a six-count charge. He walked free after the judgment having spent two years in detention already. This was part of a plea bargain agreement.

Of 13 former governors whom EFCC filed fraud charges against in 2007, just two have been nailed. Exploiting the cobweb judicial of judicial processes has kept cases on trial at a sluggish pace.

TheCable chronicles high-profile cases pending in court for years.

ACCUSED: ORJI UZOR KALU

STATE: Abia (1999-2007)

TRIAL COMMENCED: 2007

ALLEGATIONS: He was arraigned with others on a 96-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N3.2bn allegedly committed when he was governor of Abia state.

STATE OF PLAY: In January, the case was stalled owing to the inability of the EFCC prosecution team to bring to court one of its major witnesses, one M.A. Udoh. After hearing at a federal high court on May 30, the case was adjourned until June 13 at noon for hearing of both the no case submission and hearing on the amended charge. Justice Mohammed Idris has again adjourned till June 27.

ACCUSED: DANJUMA GOJE


STATE: Gombe (2003-2011)

TRIAL COMMENCED: 2011

ALLEGATION: Goje is standing trial for allegedly engaging in financial impropriety to the tune of N25 billion.

STATE OF PLAY: In 2016, the court ordered police to arrest ex-governor, who is currently the chairman of the senate committee on appropriation, for failing to attend trial.

ACCUSED: SAMINU TURAKI


STATE: Jigawa (1999-2007)

TRIAL COMMENCED: 2007

ALLEGATION: The former governor was alleged to have misappropriated of N36bn while in office from 1999 to 2007.

STATE OF PLAY: In 2011, his case was transferred to the federal high court, Dutse, Jigawa state, after the accused successfully challenged the jurisdiction of the FCT division of the court. However, the case was stalled after Turaki allegedly absconded. Even though he was later rearrested, the trial is yet to begin.

ACCUSED: MURTALA NYAKO


STATE: Adamawa (2007-2011)

TRIAL COMMENCED: 2015

ALLEGATION: Nyako is being prosecuted by the EFCC on a 37-count charge of conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N29billion. Nyako is standing trial alongside his son, Abdul-Aziz Nyako, a serving senator.

STATE OF PLAY: The case has suffered a series of delays and legal logjams and adjournments.

ACCUSED: SULE LAMIDO


STATE: Jigawa (2007-2015)

TRIAL COMMENCED: 2015

ALLEGATION: He is being prosecuted on an amended 43-count charge bordering on conspiracy, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N1.351 billion. Also, Lamido his standing trial with his sons for embezzling state fund and were reported to have been briefly jailed after being arrested and tried. Lamido blamed this on his enemies.

STATE OF PLAY: Trial yet to commence as Lamido and his sons institute a series of legal obstacles.

ACCUSED: ADEBAYO ALAO-AKALA


STATE: Oyo (2007-2011)

TRIAL COMMENCED: 2011

ALLEGATION: Alao-Akala is being prosecuted over an alleged N11.5bn fraud he allegedly committed while he held sway as the governor of the state.

STATE OF PLAY: His case has been adjourned till June 29 for trial.

ACCUSED: RASHIDI LADOJA


STATE: Oyo (2003-2007)

TRIAL COMMENCED: 2008

ALLEGATION: Ladoja is being prosecuted for an alleged fraud of N4.7bn while he was in office.

STATE OF PLAY: When the case was called up in March, Olabisi Oluwafemi, the prosecutor, told the judge that though the matter was slated for a continuation of the trial, he was unable to bring his next witness to court.

ACCUSED: GBENGA DANIEL

STATE: Ogun (2003-2011)

TRIAL COMMENCED: 2011

ALLEGATION: Daniel is standing trial at the high court of Ogun state for corruption committed allegedly while in office. He was said to have misappropriated over N200 million.

STATE OF PLAY: In February, Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje of Ogun state high court was infuriated when the EFCC lead counsel sought for another adjournment after about two hours and threatened to close the case.

ACCUSED: ATTAHIRU BAFARAWA


STATE: Sokoto (1999 to 2007)

TRIAL COMMENCED: 2009

ALLEGATION: Bafarawa is facing a 33-count charge bordering on corruption, illegal sale of government shares, misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, receiving stolen properties and unauthorised payments allegedly to the tune of N15bn.

STATE OF PLAY: In January, a Sokoto state high court dismissed an application by Bafarawa seeking to quash charge preferred against him. The court held that he had a case to answer. The court has fixed July 4 for judgement.