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… lauds Joshua Dariye’s conviction

The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has called on the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to probe the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over allegations that N55billion allocated for the funding of the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) has been misappropriated.

This was on Wednesday, expressed by the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr Debo Adeniran.

The CACOL Chairman cited section six (b) of The Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Act 2000 as the statutory provision which  empowers the anti-graft agency to investigate corruption cases pertaining to public institutions in the country.

Adeniran further condemned the manner in which the huge government revenue which was approved to provide support for rice farmers was allegedly diverted to strangers and political hangers-on who are not involved in agriculture.

He urged the anti-graft body to beam its search-light on how the ABP funds were disbursed in five states of the federation which include Lagos,  Kebbi, Kaduna, Ekiti and Ebonyi.

The CACOL boss also asked the anti-graft agency to investigate the role played by the affected state governments in this scam, adding that anybody fingered should be arrested, prosecuted and jailed over the diversion of this huge public revenue.

The group expressed outrage that the misappropriated fund which ought to have been used to finance the Federal Government’s plan to boost rice production across the country in pursuit of the nation’s self-sufficiency agenda for this staple crop, now appears to have been jeopardized due to the activities of corrupt elements and their accomplices within the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He wondered how corrupt individuals at the nation’s apex bank could have authorized the release of such a huge sum in cash thereby violating basic rules which stipulate that such transactions ought to be carried out through the nation’s banking system.

Similarly, CACOL has applauded the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over Tuesday’s conviction of a former Governor of Plateau State, Mr. Joshua Dariye to 14 years imprisonment.

The group said: “The conviction of Joshua Dariye on criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation of funds- an offence that is punishable under sections 315 and 309 of the penal Code Act- is a strong signal to corrupt public officials that it would no longer be business as usual as far as corruption cases are concerned in this country.

“As the trial judge Justice Adebukola Banjoko noted, Dariye who is a serving Senator committed the crime in a brazen manner. It is equally outrageous that the convict transferred about half a billion naira from the state’s Ecological Fund into a personal venture account. The judge also observed that Dariye was even richer than his state.

“The remark of Justice Adebukola Banjoko succinctly describes the deleterious effects of the brazen acts of Corruption and Joshua Dariye’s lack of empathy for same people he was supposed to lead.”

The CACOL boss wondered how a leader that cared less whether his own people lived or died- since the hospitals were left without drugs, the schools without basic textbooks and teachers were owed years of salary arrears, all due to looting of public funds- could plead for mercy on the ground that the prison where he was kept was over congested, even when the maintenance and upkeep of same prison fell under his purview while he was in power.

According to Adeniran: “All this recklessness and impunity is the reason why many have called for our leaders to be mentally examined before they are allowed to aspire for leadership positions.

“It is therefore necessary to re-emphasize that the current fight against corruption of this administration should be fully supported by all reasonable Nigerians to give the country its required reprieve from the malaise”

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