Some operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have expressed their disappointment after the Nigerian Government pardoned former governors of Plateau State, Senator Joshua Dariye; and Taraba State, Rev Jolly Nyame.
The EFCC, according to a report by PUNCH, had spent hundreds of millions of naira on investigations and prosecution of the pardoned former governors between 2007 and 2018.
Dariye’s case was said to have cost a lot more as it emanated from London and the star witness, Peter Clark, who was a policeman, had to be flown from the United Kingdom on several occasions and lodged in hotels while the case dragged on.
The Council of State on Thursday granted a state pardon to Dariye and Nyame, who were jailed for corruption.
The former governors along with 157 others will be released from prison after the Council of State approved a proposal by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to grant them a state pardon.
Dariye and Nyame were imprisoned for stealing public funds to the tune of N1.16billion and N1.6billion respectively.
Nyame and Dariye were governors of their respective states from 1999 to 2007.
An EFCC operative told the newspaper that the detective, who handled Dariye’s case, Ilyasu Kwarbai, was hit in the head with the butt of the gun by overzealous supporters of the ex-governor when the case was being handled in Jos.
The operative said, “The pardon for Dariye is demoralising. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) was the one who handled the case. He has an internal arrangement with the EFCC so his fee is not that much. However, the bulk of the money was spent on investigation. The case started from London. We had to fly there and lodge in hotels.
“Also, Peter Clark, a UK officer, was the star witness. He was the one who first arrested Dariye in 2004. We had to fly him here on several occasions to testify in Nigeria. Sometimes, when he arrived in Nigeria, the case would be adjourned for one flimsy reason or the other and he would have to travel back and then return to Nigeria.
“Clark was the one who revealed how Dariye bought a pen for £7,000 and was found with over £40,000, while his aide had about £50,000 on her. We spent hundreds of millions on this case. Kwarbai was attacked. The scar is still on his head. How will the UK take us seriously?”
Reacting, Jacobs said he was disappointed in the decision of the Buhari regime.
He said the message being conveyed was that prison was only for the poor, noting that this would embolden the younger generation to embrace fraud.
He added that the pardon meant that both Dariye and Nyame could later run for elective offices.
He added, “This pardon means that they can hold offices and run for elections. It has turned the anti-corruption war into a joke. It is a setback against the fight against corruption.
“They are setting a bad example for the younger generation. This case went from the High Court to the Supreme Court and now the convicts are being pardoned.
“It will demoralise the judges, the investigators and the prosecutors. It sends a bad message to the youth and Nigerians as a whole.”