Former Plateau State Governor Joshua Dariye is still wanted in the United Kingdom in relation to money laundering charges for which he was arrested and detained in 2004 by the London Metropolitan Police. He jumped bail thereafter.
A detective with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Musa Sunday, told Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Gudu yesterday that the case is still pending before the London Metropolitan Police.
Sunday spoke while testifying in the trial of Dariye (a serving senator), representing Plateau Central.
Dariye governed the state between 1999 and 2007. He is facing a 23-count charge.
The witness, while cross-examined by Dariye’s lawyer, Garba Pwul (SAN), confirmed that the decision by the EFCC to investigate Dariye for alleged money laundering was informed by information provided by the London Metropolitan Police.
“The defendant (Dariye) was granted bail by the UK police. And he jumped bail. The Investigating Police Officer (IPO) in London, Peter Clerk was in Nigeria in the course of our investigation,” Sunday said.
The prosecution has indicated that EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu may testify. He is listed as one of the 33 witnesses by the prosecution. Magu led the five-man team of EFCC detectives that investigated the case.
In his evidence-in-chief, Sunday gave details of how Dariye allegedly moved funds from the account of the state’s Accountant General in Lion Bank (now defunct) to an account in All States Trust Bank (now defunct), allegedly owned by a firm, Ebenezer Ritnan Venture Limited, linked to Dariye.
He said when the Accountant General, Sham Damisa, a Deputy Director, Treasury, Nuhu Ali Madaki and Deputy Director, Inspectorate, Silas Bum-But could not justify the payment of N204 million to Dariye’s firm, they were charged to court. The case is also before Justice Banjoko.
Sunday, who identified some bank drafts allegedly used in moving funds from the Accountant General’s account with Lion Bank, said the money was paid into an account in All States Trust Bank, belonging to Dariye’s firm, Ebenezer Ritnan Ventures.
“These drafts were traced to All States Trust Bank and were raised in the name of All States Trust Bank, but paid into Ebenezer Ritnan’s account. In the course of investigation, we found that there was no contract between the state and Ebenezer Ritnan Venture
“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.
“From our investigation in Nigeria and documents tendered, showed that the defendant was arrested by the Metropolitan Police in London, granted bail, jumped bail and escaped to Nigeria.
“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.
“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,” Sunday said.
Justice Banjoko admitted Dariye’s three statements, made in 2007 in evidence as exhibits P13(a), (b) & (c).
The trial resumes on February 2.