Joshua Dariye’s corruption trial continues despite defecting to APC

Joshua Dariye

The trial of a former governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, continued on Wednesday, October 12 before Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Gudu, Abuja, with a defence witness, Stephen Igmala, who is the acting General Manager, Plateau State Road Maintenance Agency, denying knowledge of how equipment used by the Agency were procured.

Mr. Igmala, while being examined by the defence counsel, G. S. Pwul, said: ‘‘I started working in the Agency as a Principal Technical Officer in May 2000. I have no idea about how, and when the equipment were procured. We received them from the Ministry of Works in 2000, and are still using them till date. We didn’t pay for the equipment; the state government did.’’

Under cross-examination by the counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, Mr. Igmala, who told the court that he became the Agency’s acting general manager in June 2015, said he was not a member of the management of the agency, previously known as Plateau State Direct Labour Agency, when the equipment and vehicles listed in the Exhibit D 18 that was tendered and admitted by the court were procured.

Mr. Igmala, the fifth defence witness, DW5, in the ongoing trial, also told the court that he had not bought any other equipment since he assumed office as acting General Manager.

‘‘I have only been buying diesel, petrol and engine oil through direct purchase from the market,’’ he said.

However, the prosecuting counsel pointed out to the court that the equipment as well as the vehicles used by the agency were more than what was captured in the Exhibit D18 previously tendered and admitted by the court.

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Answering further questions from Mr. Jacobs, Mr. Igmala admitted that he had exceeded his six-month acting period.

Justice Banjoko, thereafter, adjourned to October 13 for further hearing.

Mr. Dariye is being prosecuted by the EFCC for allegedly siphoning the state’s ecological fund to the tune of N1.16 billion.

The former Plateau Governor recently decamped to Nigeria’s ruling party, APC from the opposition PDP.

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