The trial of a former governor of Plateau State Joshua Dariye will continue on Thursday 20 October before Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the FCT High Court.
Dariye, now a senator, is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly siphoning the state’s ecological fund to the tune of N1.16 billion.
On Monday, a defence witness, Paul Datugum, a staff in the Office of the Accountant-General, Plateau State Ministry of Finance, failed to substantiate an alleged raid by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on the Ministry in 2005.
Datugum, who claimed to have worked in the State Ministry of Education between 2000 and 2006, told the court that his predecessor in the Central Cash Unit of the Office of the Accountant-General, the late Bala Kwafur, did not hand over any document to him.
The witness narrates what happened
Datugum said: ‘‘On that fateful day, I was in the Ministry of Education when we saw people from the Ministry of Finance running helter-skelter.
”Then, we saw a Hilux parked outside the Ministry of Finance and staff of EFCC were packing documents from the Office of the Accountant-General.’’
But he could not substantiate the claim
However, under cross-examination by the counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, Datugum, who admitted that the Ministry of Education building was some metres from the Ministry of Finance, said he did not see the particular documents that were allegedly carted away by operatives of the EFCC.
‘‘I did not see the particular documents. I did not see the contents either. But they were documents because they were packed inside Bagco bags (Jute bags),’’ he said.
When Jacobs further asked if DW7 saw the inventory of the documents allegedly taken away by operatives of the EFCC, he replied in the negative, saying, ‘‘I didn’t see the inventory.’’
The witness also told the court that the late Kwafur did not give him the inventory of documents allegedly taken by operatives of the EFCC.
Still cross-examining witness, Jacobs told the court that the late Kwafur never mentioned in his statement to the EFCC that documents were moved away from his office.
No knowledge of the Accountant-General‘s invitation
When asked if he was aware that the Accountant-General, Nuhu Madaki, and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, had been invited by the EFCC, the witness said: ‘‘ I am not aware that the Accountant-General has been invited by the EFCC or even charged to court .’’
Jacobs also pointed out to the court that the Accountant-General had instructed Datugum to search for the same documents, which he (Datugum) claimed had been carted away by operatives of the EFCC.
‘‘You remember you said in your statement that you spent days looking for the documents, without being able to identify them,’’ Jacobs added.
Responding, DW7 said: ‘‘I was looking for them for about a week at the Expenditure Control.’’
Justice Banjoko, thereafter, adjourned to Thursday, October 20, 2016 for the further hearing.