The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit asking the Federal High Court in Lagos to end the Senate President, Bukola Saraki from paying former Plateau State governor, Senator Joshua Dariye N14.2 million monthly salary and allowances at the same time he serves out a 10-year prison sentence.
According to SERAP’s lawsuit, Dariye is unmoving receiving the N750,000 salary and N13.5 million monthly allowances from the Nigeran Senate six months behind his confidence.
In June, an FCT elevated court convicted Dariye for diverting N1.162 billion country ecological funds at the same time he was governor. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison, which was later reduced to 10 years by a court of appeal in Abuja. Dariye is said to possess been paid N85.5 million as allowances since his confidence.
Joined as Defendants in the suit are: Mr Dariye and the National Assembly Service Commission.
In the suit number FHC/L/CS/2146/18 filed final 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.”
The 15-page lawsuit read in portion: “Mr Saraki and the National Assembly Service Commission should be in a minute restrained from unlawfully paying salaries and allowances to Mr Dariye who is serving jail expression. Restraining them would send a lucid message to Nigerian elected officials that corruption does not pay and deliver to promoting accountability and fostering populace faith and faith in Nigeria’s democracy, the rule of law and the governance means.
“By paying Mr Dariye’s allowances at the same time in prison, Mr Saraki and the National Assembly Service Commission possess destroyed the efficacy and intention of Mr Dariye’s confidence and possess brought the rule of law and administration of justice into disrepute. SERAP and the populace are terrified by the action of Mr Saraki and the National Assembly Service Commission and they ought to be restrained by this Honourable Court.
“Mr Saraki and the National Assembly Service Commission should not be allowed to persevere to assemble a mockery of the rule of law, our mode of administration of justice and our judicial means by behaving as whether the Nigerian Senate is not bound by the court judgment which convicted and sentenced Dariye for corruption. Mr Saraki and the Nigerian Senate should be compelled to esteem and obey decisions of the court.
“By continuing to pay Mr Dariye’s allowances behind his confidence and at the same time in Kuje prison and unable to sit and perform the functions of a sitting senator, Mr Saraki and the National Assembly Service Commission possess played a gloomy role to wit: undermining the authority and integrity of the court. Mr Saraki and the National Assembly Service Commission knew or ought to realize that Mr Dariye has been convicted and sentenced and in a minute serving his jail expression in Kuje prison pursuant to a decision of a adept court.
“Mr Dariye, having been convicted, sentenced and currently serving jail expression in Kuje prison can no longer by advantage of his imprisonment lawfully tote out or perform the duties of a senator. Mr Dariye ordinarily ceases to be a senator, as per the chow of share 66 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended).
“Mr Dariye is no longer a senator having been convicted, sentenced and currently serving prison terms and having been in prison since June 12, 2018, he is caught by the provision of section 68(1)(f) as it is practically impossible for him to sit as senator.”
“Mr Dariye, having been absent for a period amounting in the aggregate to more than one-third of the total number of days during which the Senate meets in 2018, is disqualified and therefore his seat has automatically become vacant. Mr Dariye is no longer entitled to be paid and/or to receive the allowances of a sitting and serving senator.”
“Mr Dariye’s conviction remains in effect until it is set aside. Therefore, the argument that he has appealed his conviction will not hold water. A judgment of a competent court of law subsists until set aside on appeal. The Supreme Court of Nigeria has made this point very clear in several cases.”
SERAP is seeking an order restraining Saraki and the National Assembly Service Commission from paying Dariye any further allowances at the same time serving his jail expression in Kuje prisons, Abuja.
No date has been constant for the hearing of the suit.