Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has declared that monthly salaries and allowances of the jailed Senator Joshua Dariye, APC-Plateau Central, cannot be stopped now by the National Assembly, ROYAL NEWS has gathered.
Senator Dariye is currently serving 10 year jail term in Kuje prison , Abuja after 10 years of prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on charges bordering on corrupt practices while in office as the Executive Governor of Plateau State from May 1999 to May 2007.
Though, Dariye who was earlier jailed for 14 years in June this year by Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal High Court, Abuja , had his sentence reduced to 10 years by the Appeal Court last month but filled another appeal to the Supreme court which made the Senate President not to stop his monthly emoluments or declare his seat vacant.
However, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has instituted a suit against the National Assembly and the Senate President in particular at the Federal High Court in Lagos asking for stoppage of payment of the jailed senator’s monthly salaries.
SERAP in the suit also seeks the court to compel Saraki to declare the seat of Dariye vacant and requests an order compelling Dariye to return all salaries and allowances paid to him as a senator while in prison since June this year.
In the suit number FHC/L/CS/2146/18 filed on Friday, SERAP argued: “Mr. Saraki and the National Assembly Service Commission are trying to override Nigerian law and the judgment of our court by continuing to pay Mr Dariye’s allowances while he serves out a 10-year prison term and unable to sit and perform the functions of a senator.
“This action undermines the rule of law and is a great moral failure because it sends a message that corruption pays—it’s the opposite of Nigerian Constitutional principles and international obligations”.
Reacting to the move, Saraki in a statement issued on Sunday by his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said he cannot take such actions now except the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami, SAN, hands in a request to that effect.
The statement reads in part: “The SP (Senate President) does not have such powers except a request is made to him by the AGF who prosecuted the case and get court judgement. The request will be accompanied by the court judgement.
“The SP can then refer the matter to the legal department for advice. This will also require the SP to inform INEC about this development with a consequent need to declare the seat of such a senator vacant and a by-election in the district”.
He questioned why the AGF has failed to hand in a request to stop payment of allowances to Mr Dariye, a move that will spur declaration of the seat vacant.
“Why has the AGF not informed the SP about the case? Is it because Dariye is his party man?”, he queried.