Former Plateau State governor, Joshua Dariye is to return to the Abuja High Court to face corruption charges filed against him since 2007 by the Economic and the Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The interlocutory appeal which had stalled the trial of the former governor was dismissed by the Supreme Court on Friday.
Describing the scenario that played out in the entire case as a “sad commentary” on the nation’s fight against corruption, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, who led the five-man panel, ordered the accused to return to the Abuja High Court to face his trial.
The Supreme Court described as unmeritorious, Dariye’s appeal against the earlier decision of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, on his preliminary objection challenging the competence of the charges instituted against him and the jurisdiction of the FCT High Court to entertain the suit.
It would be recalled that Dariye was arraigned before FCT High Court on a 23-count charge of money laundering and other corruption charges allegedly involving billions of naira belonging to the Plateau State government.
He was accused by the EFCC of diverting about N1.2bn of the state’s ecological funds into the account of Ebenezer Ratnen Venture, one the companies through which he allegedly siphoned the public funds, among other charges.
The trial judge, Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Abuja High court had scheduled trial to commence on November 13, 2007 when the former governor filed his notice of preliminary objection challenging the court’s jurisdiction and the competence of the charges.
Justice Ngwuta however held that all the four issues determined by the court were resolved against the appellant, “so, the appeal has no merit. It is hereby dismissed.
“The appellant should go back to the Abuja High Court to stand his trial on the charges levelled against him.
“This is a sad commentary on our fight against corruption. Appeal dismissed,” the court held.