UK police stumbled on Dariye’s money laundering: Witness

UK police stumbled on Dariye’s money laundering: Witness

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 9:30 am


Joshua Dariye:

Joshua Dariye:

All properties bought  with suspected stolen money by Joshua Dariye, former governor of Plateau state  have been confiscated by the United Kingdom government.

Also confiscated was over a million pounds sterling recovered from him and accomplices.

And on top of that, the former governor is still wanted in the country to face money laundering charge and the criminal charge of jumping bail.

Mr Peter Clark, a former detective constable of London Metropolitan Police  and EFCC’s key witness  made all these disclosures during his testimony  in the money laundering charge against  Dariye  on Monday  in Abuja, before Justice Adebukola Banjoko.

Clark told an FCT High Court that he stumbled on Dariye’s money laundering  while investigating a credit card fraud in London in 2004.

Dariye is standing trial in a 23-count charge relating to money laundering and diversion of N1.64 billion state ecological fund, among other charges.

Clark, gave the evidence  during cross-examination by Mr Garba Pwul (SAN), the defense counsel.

The witness said he was investigating a credit card fraud that led him to 28 Regent Plaza, Dariye’s residence in London.

He told the court that one Christopher Mekwunya was found in the house with 11, 560 pound sterling in a brief case, which Mekwunya claimed, belonged to Dariye.

Mekwunya, who was sponsored to study in London by Dariye, was prosecuted but later acquitted on money laundering charges since the money was not his.

Though Clark agreed that that there was no official complaint about Dariye prior to his arrest in London, the Prosecution led by Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), produced pieces of evidence in respect of this to the court.

The documents included payment transfer instructions, and photograph of money seized from the ex-governor, which the defence counsel dismissed as `just pictures of pounds and dollars.’

“They have no bearing to the case and have no foundation whatsoever’’, he said.

Other evidence included cheques and bank drafts from Barclays Bank.

Clark told the court that Dariye maintained an account with Barclays Bank since 1995, but that there was less activity in the account until 1999 when he became governor.

He named one Joyce Oyebanjo as the person who operated Dariye’s account in London, paying bills and taking care of Dariye’s children’s private education.

He said that over one million pound sterling was found in her account for which she was later prosecuted and sentenced to three and a half years in jail.

A lady, Christabel Bentu was confirmed as being Dariye’s Personal Assistant who was in possession of Dariye’s passbooks and flight tickets.

He said she was also found with 50,000 pound sterling in cash, which she claimed that out of the amount, 10,000 pound sterling belonged to her while the remaining 40,000 pounds belonged to Dariye.

He said that upon arrest, Dariye and Christabel were detained separately in the police station.

Clark said that three weeks after  Dariye’s arrest, 11,995 pound sterling was found in his apartment which was also seized.

He also testified that various sums of money which the ex-governor used to purchase properties were traced to other account names.

He said that the properties were later confiscated.

The defense Counsel, Pwul tried to establish the reason why Joyce Oyebanjo was convicted of money laundering charges while Mekwunya was discharged.

He argued that since both of them claimed that the monies found on them belonged to Dariye; both were supposed to be convicted.

In answer to this, Clark said that million pounds was greater than the 11, 560 pounds found on Mekwunya.

The case was adjourned to June 6 by Justice Banjoko for continuation of trial.

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