The Plateau State High Court sitting in Jos on Wednesday ordered a trial-within-trial to ascertain whether the statement which the ICPC obtained from a former cashier of the Plateau State Government House, Mr. Yusuf Pam, who is facing over N6bn fraud charges, were voluntary.
Justice Daniel Longji, who presided over the case in Jos on Wednesday, gave the order in his ruling.
Pam is standing trial at the state High Court alongside the former governor of the state, Jonah Jang, in a 12-count brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which bordered on alleged corruption and misappropriation of the state fund amounting to over N6bn.
The EFCC had alleged that Jang, who served as Plateau governor between 2007 and 2015, misappropriated the alleged fund two months to the end of his administration in 2015, among others
The duo have since pleaded not guilty to the charges.
When the case came up for hearing on Wednesday, the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, called the eighth witness, Mr. Taiwo Olorunwoni, an investigator with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), who testified before the court how N2bn belonging to the Plateau State Medium and Small Scale Enterprise Agency and another N3bn of the state Universal Basic Education Board was withdrawn by the cashier and taken to the then governor.
Mr Jacobs had sought to tender the written statement of Mr. Pam as evidence in court, but his move was objected to by the defence counsel, Mr. Mike Ozekheme, SAN, who argued that the statements were not voluntarily obtained as confirmed by Pam who told the court that he was pressured by the ICPC operatives to make the written statement.
After arguments, the prosecution and the defense counsel agreed for the court to proceed on trial-within-trial of the matter to ascertain if the statements were voluntarily obtained by the Commission.
Justice Daniel Longji therefore adjourned the case for a trial-within trial to 25th and 26th April, 2019. – Punch.