Still guilty! Appeal Court upholds convictions of ex- govs Nyame, Dariye, reduces jail terms to 10, 12, years, fines Nyame N495m
By TONY ADAMS
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division upheld the conviction of Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye, handed down on them by Justice Adebukola Banjoko of a Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, Gudu but commuted their sentences from 14 years, 12 and 10 respectively for being “first-time offenders”.
Justice Banjoko had on May 30, 2018 found Nyame, a former Taraba State governor guilty and sentenced him to 14 years for criminal breach of trust, two for criminal misappropriation, seven for gratification, and five for obtaining by dishonesty to run concurrently.
The trial judge on June 12, 2018 also found Dariye, a former Plateau State governor guilty of 15 out of the 23-count amended charge brought against him by the EFCC bordering on criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds, and sentenced him to 14 years in prison for criminal breach of trust and two years for misappropriation of public funds, to run concurrently.
The two former governors, who are currently serving their jail terms at Kuje Prison, had approached the Court of Appeal seeking to have their convictions and sentencing set aside.
The three-man panel comprising of Justices Abdul Aboki, Stephen Adah and Atinuke Komolafe-Wilson, which sat on the Dariye appeal, gave its verdict on November 16, 2018.
Reading the lead judgement on behalf of the panel, Adah, stressed that it was a unanimous decision. The Panel upheld the conviction of Dariye based on counts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 13, 17, 21 and 22.
Adah, however, stressed that the lower court ought to have given consideration to the fact that Dariye was a “first-time” offender, and also set aside his conviction based on count 12, while quashing his conviction based on count 23.
In view of being a first-time offender, their lordship reduced his sentencing of 14 years for criminal breach of trust to 10 years on each count, reduced his two years sentence to one for misappropriation of funds, all to run concurrently.
“The forfeiture order of the lower court is also upheld,” Justice Adah added.
Meanwhile, Nyame was not so lucky as the Panel that sat on his appeal, comprising of Justices Aboki and Emmanuel Agim, not only upheld his conviction, but also fined him N495 million.
Reducing the sentencing of the lower court “in conformity with Section 315 of the Penal Code and Section 416 of the ACJA 2015”, Justice Agim who read the judgement, commuted Nyame’s jail term to 12 years and fined him N100 million each on counts one, two and six; N50 million on count eight; N20 million on counts 10, 12, and 14; N10 million on counts 16, 18, 20, 27, 29, 30, 31, and 32; and N5 million on count 36, totalling N495 million.
Nyame also had his sentence reduced from 14 years to 12 for criminal breach of trust, from seven years to five years for gratification and five years to four, for obtaining by dishonesty.