Former governor of Plateau State Joshua Dariye is still wanted by UK security operatives for money laundering.
A detective with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Musa Sunday, made this known to Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday, stating that the case is still pending before the London Metropolitan Police.
Joshua Dariye was the governor of Plateau State under the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) from May 29 1999 to 2006 when he was impeached. He was again elected as the senator representing Plateau Central under the platform of the Labour Party in April 2011.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), arrested him in 2007 in relation to money laundering for which he was arrested and detained briefly in 2004 by the London Metropolitan Police.
The money laundering act involves alleged diversion of about N1.126billion meant for the Plateau State Government’s ecological funds, to which he pleaded not guilty.
Speaking on the case, Mr. Sunday Musa said that the decision by the EFCC to investigate Dariye for alleged money laundering was primed by information provided by the London Metropolitan Police.
In an evidence earlier provided in the court, Sunday had explained in details how Dariye allegedly moved funds from the account of the Plateau State’s Accountant General in Lion bank (now defunct) to an account in All States Trust Bank (now defunct too) allegedly owned by a firm, Ebenezer Ritnan Venture Limited, linked to Dariye.
In his words,
From investigation, we found that the defendant was the account holder. We discovered some property, which the defendant used part of the money to purchase. We applied for interim forfeiture order to confiscate the property.
The Metropolitan Police found that money moved from Ebenezer Ritnan to a bank in London. Some of the information we gathered were sent to Metropolitan Police. The lead investigator in London was Peter Clerk. The London authorities later treated the case in the UK.
We also saw a Diamond Bank draft of N204 million drawn from the Plateau State Accountant General account, but paid into Ebenezer Ritnan’s account. The instruction for the payment was given by the Accountant General, Sham Damisa, Nuhu Ali Madaki, deputy director, Treasury and Silas Bum-But, deputy director, Inspectorate.
He explained further,
In the course of investigation, we invited these people to prove to the commission what job was executed by Ebenezer Retnan to have warranted the payment. But they could not show that any job was done for the state and for which the state paid the money.
For failing to provide reasons for this payment, they were charged to court. They are on trial before this court.
In the course of the investigation, the defendant was invited to make a statement, which he did at the Asokoro Office of the EFCC.
Justice Banjoko admitted the three statements made by Dariye in 2007 as evidences termed exhibits P13 (a), (b) & (c).
The hearing on the trial will resumes on February 2.