It has been revealed that Senator Joshua Dariye is still receiving the N750, 000 salary and N13.5m monthly running cost from the National Assembly, six months after his conviction by a Federal Capital Territory High Court.
Dariye, who represents Plateau-Central Senatorial District, is still been paid the allowances because his seat had yet to be declared vacant by the leadership of the National Assembly, Naija News gathered.
Recall Dariye, who was governor of Plateau State from 1999 to 2007, was dragged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for embezzling N1.162bn and was convicted by Justice Adebukola Banjoko.
He was subsequently sentenced to 14 years in prison, but his sentence was last month, reduced to 10 years by the Court of Appeal which however upheld his conviction, Naija News reports.
Speaking with Punch on the telephone, an aide to Dariye, Mr Christopher John, confirmed the convicted senator and his aides were still receiving their full allowances.
He submitted that since Sen. Dariye had appealed his conviction at the Supreme Court, it would be unfair for his seat to be declared vacant when the court is yet to give a final judgement.
John said, “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.”
The Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media, Yusuph Olaniyonu, however said he could not confirm if Dariye was still receiving allowances or not.
He however told Punch that Dariye’s seat could not be declared vacant until the leadership of the Senate received official communication from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation.
He said, “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.”
In his reaction, the Director for Information at the National Assembly, Mr Jerry Agada, said there was no court order or directive from the Senate President to stop Dariye’s salary and so it could not be stopped.
Agada added that the National Assembly Commission had no such powers to stop it.
He said, “The procedure of the National Assembly is that a person’s seat must be declared vacant before he is no longer a senator. Based on the latest information we have, they said he had taken the matter to the Supreme Court.
“On our own, we have no power to stop the salary or allowances of any senator whose seat has not been declared vacant. Our intention was that his pay would be put on hold pending the outcome of the case but do we even have such powers?
“He remains a senator in the eyes of the law. It is not a matter of morality now but a matter of law. The power to declare any seat vacant resides in the Senate President or the Speaker.”
Source: Naija News