Former Plateau State governor, Joshua Dariye, who in June 2018 was sentenced to 14 years in prison for diverting N1.162 billion state ecological funds while he was governor, is still collecting allowances to the tune of N85 million from the government.
Punch reports that Dariye who bursted into tears in June when he was handed his sentence, is still receiving the N750, 000 salary and N13.5m monthly running cost from the National Assembly. Dariye who became a senator shortly after leaving office, is still receiving the allowances as a serving Senator because his seat is yet to be declared vacant by the leadership of the National Assembly.
Confirming the governor was still receiving his allowances and benefits, an aide to the former governor, Christopher John, said the National Assembly cannot declare his seat vacant and stop the allowances because he has appealed his conviction at the Supreme Court and it would be unfair for his seat to be declared vacant when he had not yet exploited all legal channels.
“He has already appealed the case; so he is still a senator pending the decision of the Supreme Court. It is right for us to still be receiving salaries because his case has not ended. There are many other senators having issues with the courts like Senator Attah Idoko from Kogi State. Judgment was given in favour of AVM Isaac Alfa but since Idoko has appealed the case, he is still serving and attending sittings as a senator pending the outcome of the case, Aides should still be receiving salary because Dariye is still a senator. And he is still receiving his allowances and will continue to do so until the case is closed.” he said
Commenting on the situation, the Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said the leadership of the senate has no power to declare a seat vacant and cannot stop the allowances due to Dariye.
“The Senate President has no power to declare any seat vacant except he is presented with a request. We have to receive official communication from those who prosecuted him. We cannot read a report in the newspapers and go ahead to declare his seat vacant. Even if a senator dies, his family would inform the leadership of the Senate or senators would go and pay a condolence visit and officially confirm that he is dead and then the Independent National Electoral Commission will be notified that the seat is vacant. Those who convicted Senator Dariye never informed us that he had been convicted. In fact, we even read that he bought the APC ticket to contest for re-election. The AGF prosecuted him and he ought to write the Senate so that the seat can be declared vacant and another election conducted.” he said