Former Governor of Plateau State and senator representing Plateau Central Senatorial District, Joshua Dariye, has continued receiving the N750, 000 salary and N13.5m monthly running cost from the National Assembly since his conviction in June 2018, Herald Nigeria has learnt.
Dariye, who served as governor of Plateau from 1999 to 2007, was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and convicted by Justice Adebukola Banjoko of a Federal Capital Territory High Court for embezzling N1.162bn.
He was subsequently sentenced to 14 years in prison, but his sentence was reduced to 10 years by the Court of Appeal which upheld his conviction last month.
But despite his conviction, the senator now has a total earnings of N171.1m in May, without adding the severance package he is supposed to receive as an outgoing member of the National Assembly.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) had approached the Federal High Court in Lagos to “stop the Senate President Bukola Saraki from paying former Plateau State governor, Senator Joshua Dariye, N14.2 million monthly allowances while he serves out a 10-year prison sentence for corruption because such payment violates Nigerian law and international obligations.”
But the Director of Information at the National Assembly, Mr Agada Rawlings, during an interview with The Punch, said, constitutionally, Dariye could not be denied the payments.
Rawlings said, “The point there is that his seat has not been declared vacant. You’re looking at the moral side of it but we are looking at the constitutional side. There are two issues that are at stake. Dariye, as of today, is still a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He has not been recalled.
“Secondly, INEC has not declared his seat vacant. As the management of the National Assembly, we do not have such powers to do anything otherwise until the law speaks otherwise.
“So, it’s not for us as the management to decide who stays and who does not stay. The law on that is clear. The only constitutional provision to declare a seat vacant is on the basis of recall or death of a member.”
“But in this particular instance, there is a moral burden, but if there is no law that states that he has been barred as a result of the judgement and the court in this judgement did not say his position at the Senate of the Federal Republic (had) lapsed,” Rawlings added.