A Federal Capital Territory High Court in Gudu, Abuja, admitted as exhibit a letter showing that the Plateau State’s N1.161bn ecological funds allegedly diverted by a former governor of the state, Joshua Dariye, was released to the state government in 2001 for reclamation of mining devastated land in the state.
Dariye, a former governor of Plateau State between 1999 and 2007, and now a senator representing Plateau-Central senatorial district, is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on 23 counts of diversion of the N1.61bn ecological funds meant for land reclamation and flood channelisation project in the Bokkos area of the state.
The EFCC, on Wednesday, called as its second prosecution witness, an accountant in the federal civil service, Mr. James Adewesu, who gave details of the processes leading to the release of the funds to Dariye, who was said to have personally collected the cheque for the N1.161bn from the Ecological Fund Office at the Federal Secretariat in Abuja.
Adewesu was then serving in the accounts department of the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, where the account of the Ecological Fund Office was said to be domiciled.
He said the release of the cheque to the former governor followed an approval of the state’s request by the then former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who was the chairman of the Ecological Fund Office. Chief Yomi Edu was the Minister of Special Duties during the period.
The witness read some portions of the bundle of documents tendered and admitted as exhibits on Wednesday, confirming that the title of the request letter personally signed by the governor read, “SOS: An appeal for Federal Government’s assistance on reclamation of lands devastated by past mining activities in Plateau State.” He also read another portion of the documents given to him by the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), titled, “Flood Channelisation Works at Bokkos.”
Led in evidence by Jacobs, the witness said the request letter by Dariye had sought N3,1977,000,000 but only the sum of N1,161,161,900 was approved by the then vice-president.