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SERAP sues Saraki, others for paying Dariye N14.2m in prison

By Bertram Nwannekanma
24 December 2018   |   4:14 am
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) and...

[FILES] Senate President Bukola Saraki PHOTO: TWITTER/ NIGERIAN SENATE

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) and the Senate President Bukola Saraki at a Federal High Court, Lagos for paying Senator Joshua Dariye N14.2 million monthly allowances in prison.

In the suit, which also listed Dariye as a respondent, the group is asking for an order to stop paying the senator’s monthly allowance, while serving a 10-year jail term for corruption as the payment violates Nigerian laws and international obligations.

According to SERAP’s lawsuit, Dariye still receives N750,000 salary and N13.5 million monthly allowances from the Senate, six months after his conviction.

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court had convicted Dariye in June for diverting N1.162 billion state ecological funds, while he was governor.

He was sentenced to 14 years in prison, which was reduced to 10 years by an Abuja Court of Appeal. Dariye had received N85.5 million as allowances since his conviction.

SERAP argued in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/2146/18 and filed on Friday, December 21, 2018 that Saraki and the NASC were trying to override Nigerian laws and the court judgment by continuing to pay Dariye’s allowances.

“That action undermines the rule of law and is a great moral burden because it sends a message that corruption pays,” it said.

SERAP urged the court to declare Dariye’s seat in the Senate vacant, having been convicted and sentenced to jail and that he is, therefore, not entitled to any allowances reserved for sitting and serving senators.

SERAP is also seeking an order compelling Dariye to return all salaries and allowances he had received while in prison, as he has not performed the functions of his office and having not deservedly earned the allowances.

“Unless the reliefs sought are granted, Saraki and the NASC will continue to act in flagrant disobedience of the judgment, independence and authority of the court and rule of law.

“It is in the interest of justice to grant this application as the defendants have nothing to lose if it is granted.

“Saraki and the National Assembly should be restrained from paying Dariye salaries and allowances henceforth.

“This would send a clear message to elected officials that corruption does not pay. It will also promote accountability, foster public trust and confidence in the nation’s democracy, rule of law and governance generally,” the group stated.