Alleged N6.3bn fraud: EFCC re-arraigns ex-Governor Jang

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Monday re-arraigned former Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang and a cashier at the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Yusuf Pam, for alleged N6.3 billion fraud.

Jang and Pan were first arraigned in June 2018, on 17-count charge bordering on misappropriation of funds, criminal breach of trust and corrupt advantages.

The anti-graft agency said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 315, 309, 19 and 22(5) of the Penal Code Law and Corrupt Practices Act 2004 (as amended).

In 2018, Justice Daniel Longji, on his last sitting on the bench on December 29, 2019, dismissed the defendants’ no-case-submission, and held that the defendants had a case to answer.

The state’s Chief Judge (CJ), Justice Yakubu Dakwak, reassigned the case to Justice Christy Dabup of Court IV for continuation of trial.

At the resumed hearing yesterday before Justice Dabup, EFCC’s counsel A. O. Otolade applied for the fresh arraignment of the two defendants since the case was starting de novo (afresh).

“I urge your lordship to permit us, the prosecution read the charges to the accused for them to take their pleas,” Otolade pleaded.

When the charges were read to the defendants, they pleaded not guilty.

Otolade then applied for an adjournment to enable the prosecution prepare for its case against the defendants.

He said the prosecution would be calling 15 witnesses to testify in the case.

But Jang’s lawyer Edward Pwajok (SAN) opposed the application for adjournment.

He pleaded with the court to allow the bail earlier granted his clients on May 24, 2018, to continue.

“My Lord, we wish to humbly apply orally that bail be granted the accused persons, as earlier granted to them on May 24, 2018, as well as maintain the bail bonds.

“The sureties who took them on bail are still willing to stand for them till the conclusion of this matter before your lordship,” Pwajok said.

Pam’s lawyer Sunday Odeh concurred with Pwajok’s plea.

While EFCC’s counsel did not object to their pleas, he, however, urged the court to order the sureties to produce affidavits to show that they were still standing for the defendants.

Justice Dabup granted the bail application and adjourned till May 26, 27 and 28 for definite hearing of the case.

She ordered the sureties to provide affidavits to the court within four days to show that they were still standing for defendants.

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