A Nigerian former state governor and serving senator was on Tuesday found guilty of corruption, the second high-ranking official to be sentenced to jail the past two weeks.
Former governor of Plateau State Joshua Dariye was found guilty of misappropriating millions of dollars earmarked for an ecological fund by the Abuja High Court, marking the end of a case that had been running for over a decade.
“I can’t imagine such a brazen act of systematic looting and stealing,” said Justice Adebukola Banjoko in her judgement.
She sentenced Dariye to 14 years behind bars for criminal misappropriation and two years for criminal breach of trust, with the sentences running concurrently.
The sentence comes as Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking to burnish his credentials as an anti-corruption crusader ahead of presidential elections next year.
Buhari, a 75-year-old former general, is seeking a second term in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and biggest oil producer that is on a wobbly recovery after the 2014 crash in commodity prices.
His so-called war against corruption was initially lauded at the beginning of his term but has since been criticised for being politicised.
Dariye’s sentence is the conclusion of a case running since 2007, highlighting the glacial pace of justice in Nigeria, where judges are often accused of taking bribes.
Former Taraba governor Jolly Nyame was convicted of fraud on May 30 and sentenced to 14 years jail time, in a case that also began over 10 years ago.