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Joshua Dariye 'Ex-Governor's trial is political revenge' - ex-SSG tells court

The former SSG said Dariye was the target of impeachment during former President Obasanjo’s government.

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Joshua Dariye

(Nigerian Eye)

A defence witness, Mr John Gobak, has told a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court  that the continuous trial of former Plateau governor, Joshua Dariye, amounts to a political vendetta.

Gobak on Wednesday, October 26 recalled, while  testifying in trial, that Dariye was the target of impeachment during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government.

Gobak, a former Commissioner for Special Duties 2002 and Secretary to the State Government (SSG) 2003, was led in evidence by Mr Garba Pwul (SAN) Counsel to Dariye.

The former SSG, who is current Chairman of Plateau State Agricultural Services, Training and Marketing, said:"We felt that the impeachment of 2006 was rather unfortunate because Plateau State House of Assembly has thirty-four members but about four or five of them sat to impeach the governor.

"I wondered whether the constitution was suspended to allow such a thing to take place," he said.

He also said that the then deputy governor, Chief Michael Botmang was not impeached along with Dariye, but was rather made a governor after 'Dariye was cleared out of the way'.

"This was challenged up to the Supreme Court where judgment was given nullifying the impeachment," the witness said.

Upon cross-examination by the EFCC prosecuting counsel, Gobak told the court that in all his capacity as a seasoned civil servant in Plateau, he never handled state funds.

He also explained how contracts were awarded and the procedures involved.

As a former SSG, he said, "money coming in from the Federal Government are channelled into the Ministry of Finance and paid into the government account."

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He also admitted that money coming in from the Federal Government is "supposed to be used for the purpose it was meant for."

On whether he is loyal to Dariye or not, he replied: "I am loyal to Dariye to the extent of his being loyal to the country."

The witness also said that he will not support the ex-governor on anything that is not right.

Dariye is standing trial for alleged diversion of Plateau ecological fund.

Judge Adebukola Banjoko adjourned the continuation of hearing till Monday, October 31.

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