Several EFCC operatives, some of whom were involved in the handling of the two cases, told one of our correspondents that huge sums of money were spent on investigation and prosecution between 2007 and 2018.
Dariye’s case in particular was said to have cost a lot more as it emanated from London and the star witness, Peter Clark, who was a policeman, had to be flown from the United Kingdom on several occasions and lodged in hotels while the case dragged on.
The National Council of State had on Thursday endorsed the pardon of Dariye, Nyame and 157 other convicts following the recommendation of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy. The 12-member committee, inaugurated by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in 2018 is headed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Dariye and Nyame were jailed for stealing N1.16bn and N1.6bn, respectively.
An EFCC operative, who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak to the press, told one of our correspondents that the detective who handled Dariye’s case, Ilyasu Kwarbai, was hit in the head with the butt of the gun by overzealous supporters of the ex-governor when the case was being handled in Jos.
The operative said, “The pardon for Dariye is demoralising. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) was the one who handled the case. He has an internal arrangement with the EFCC so his fee is not that much. However, the bulk of the money was spent on investigation. The case started from London. We had to fly there and lodge in hotels.
“Also, Peter Clark, a UK officer, was the star witness. He was the one who first arrested Dariye in 2004. We had to fly him here on several occasions to testify in Nigeria. Sometimes, when he arrived in Nigeria, the case would be adjourned for one flimsy reason or the other and he would have to travel back and then return to Nigeria.
“Clark was the one who revealed how Dariye bought a pen for £7,000 and was found with over £40,000, while his aide had about £50,000 on her. We spent hundreds of millions on this case. Kwarbai was attacked. The scar is still on his head. How will the UK take us seriously?”
Also speaking with Saturday PUNCH, Jacobs, who prosecuted both cases on behalf of the EFCC, said he was disappointed in the decision of the Buhari regime.
Jacobs said the message being conveyed was that prison was only for the poor, noting that this would embolden the younger generation to embrace fraud. He added that the pardon meant that both Dariye and Nyame could later run for elective offices.
He added, “This pardon means that they can hold offices and run for elections. It has turned the anti-corruption war into a joke. It is a setback against the fight against corruption. They are setting a bad example for the younger generation. This case went from the High Court to the Supreme Court and now the convicts are being pardoned.
“It will demoralise the judges, the investigators and the prosecutors. It sends a bad message to the youth and Nigerians as a whole.”