Drama As Ozekhome Disowns Colleague During Trial Of Ex-Plateau Gov, Jang

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

There was mild drama at the continuation of the trial of a former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, on Friday as his counsel, Mike Ozekhome, disowned another defence counsel, over the line of questioning.

Ex-governor Jang is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), alongside Yusuf Pam, a cashier at the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, for alleged N6.2billion fraud.

According to a statement signed by EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, Ozekhome disowned S.A Oguntiyi, Pam’s lawyer and expressed dismay at his line of questioning.

Oguntiyi while cross-examining the 11th prosecution witness, Musa Sunday, an operative of the EFCC, queried the testimony of the witness, with regards to monies paid to Jang.

READ ALSO: You Lack Power To Take Over Edo Assembly, Court Tells NASS

Replying, Sunday, however, revealed more of the findings while investigating the alleged fraud.

He said: “Although there was no withdrawal from the OSSG account, a cash deposit of N500,000 by the second defendant was seen on that particular day.

“In the course of investigations, during one of the interrogations with the team of EFCC detectives, the second defendant said the sum of N500,000 was a thank you gift and could not be accountable for.

“In the statement, dated January 16, 2017, made by Pam, he had however denied any receipt of any financial benefits from the Plateau State Government except salaries as a civil servant which was less than N80,000 monthly; so where then did he get cash of N500,000?

“The charges against Pam were not exclusive, but based on what the Legal team of the EFCC considered appropriate and as a civil servant there was no other source of income accrued to the second defendant, who is unable to prove the source of N71million in less than four years.

“Sometimes allowances are paid in cash by the second defendant to officials of the Plateau State House of Assembly and such allowances can be over N1million cash and in no particular order for sitting allowance, furniture allowance, domestic staff allowance, security allowance, and so on as sighted in the statement from Francis Bot, former Chief of Staff to the first defendant.”

At this point, however, Ozekhome, rose up and expressed dismay at the line of questioning of Oguntiyi, and promptly disowned him.

“I urge the judge to dismiss this line of questioning as it only further supports the investigation made by the EFCC and we are washing our hands off this mediocrity.

“If the documents are there why are you simply beating about the bush for hours on end?

“For lack of a better word, the judge must conclude the judgement on this case before his retirement by ending 2019. We do not want to embark on a de novo.

“At this point, we (the counsel for the first defendant) disassociate ourselves from this line of questioning during cross-examination by the second defendant,” Ozekhome said.

Afterwards, counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, informed the court that he had wanted to present the 12th prosecution witness, “but due to the listlessness and lack of valid substance that the defence counsel took so much time, it is unfortunate that the witness may have to appear at another trial date”.

However, Oguntiyi pressed on with his cross-examination, asking the witness if there were Closed Circuit Television, CCTV Cameras, at the Government House, and whether there was an investigation report on the case, wherein findings and recommendations were contained.

Responding, Sunday simply said: “The question about CCTV cameras cannot be answered by me, but the officials of the Plateau State Government House”, adding that, “there was a comprehensive investigation report, however, this is highly confidential and restricted for the EFCC perusal.”

Justice Longji, thereafter, cautioned the counsel, noting that the questions being asked, were mostly repetitions, and not necessary, wondering what Oguntiyi was trying to establish.

Continuing with the cross-examination, Oguntiyi thereafter inquired from the witness, if he was aware that the N10million found in the account of Pam, was a pay-off for his late wife.

Expressing dismay, Sunday noted that he was hearing that for the first time.

Judge Longji subsequently adjourned to September 30, 2019, for the defence team to close the cross-examination of the witness and continuation of trial.

Court Reserves Ruling On Admissibility Of Bank Document Tendered Against Jang

Alleged Bribery: Witness Testifies As Rickey Tarfa’s Trial Continues
File photo

 

Justice Daniel Longji of Plateau State High Court has reserved ruling on the admissibility of the bank document tendered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against former Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang and Yusuf Gyang Pam, a cashier with the Plateau State Government, till December 13.

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, the EFCC presented its third prosecution witness, an assistant manager in the marketing department of the bank where the state government operates an account in the office of the Secretary to the State Government, as well as that of cabinet and special services.

Read Also: Jang Replies EFCC, Denies Ownership Of Kaduna Property

The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs in the course of cross-examining the witness tendered a document signed by the compliance department of the bank with the prayer that it be admitted in the prosecution of the suspects.

But the defence counsel, Mike Ozekhome, opposed the acceptability of the document arguing that they appear to be original on the surface but no foundation was laid by the prosecution team as to why the prosecution witness will tender a document which he is not a signatory.

Former governor Jang and Gyang Pam have been accused of misappropriating state funds to the tune of 6.3 billion naira.

Jang Replies EFCC, Denies Ownership Of Kaduna Property

Jang Replies EFCC, Denies Ownership Of Kaduna Property
(File) Former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang

 

Former governor of Plateau State and lawmaker representing Plateau North senatorial district, Jonah Jang, has denied ownership of the property uncovered by anti-corruption officials in Kaduna State.

Senator Jang said this in a statement by his media consultant, Clinton Garuba, on Monday hours after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) said it has uncovered property worth N500 million allegedly belonging to the former governor.

He stated that it was not the first time the commission would investigate the ownership of the property.

“The property located at No. 8 and 9 Gobarau Road, Unguwan Rimi GRA, Kaduna State does not belong to Senator Jang,” the statement said.

“The property formerly belonging to Northern Nigerian Development Company, Kaduna, was allocated to the senator while he was the executive governor of Plateau State but eventually lost interest and did not continue with the acquisition.”

READ ALSO: EFCC Uncovers Property Worth N500m Allegedly Owned By Ex-Plateau Governor

The lawmaker insisted that the EFCC was aware of this development and knew the real owners of the said property.

He accused the anti-graft agency of ‘deliberately’ engaging in such action to harass him and tarnish his name and reputation.

In the meantime, the senator said he would not honour the invitation of the EFCC to report to its Kano office on December 5.

He, however, disclosed that he had written to the commission and asked for another date in January 2019.

The statement added, “The decision to turn down the invitation was an easy one because the senator is under trial in Jos, the Plateau State capital having been charged to court by the same commission, and the matter is expected to commence definite hearing around the date of the invitation.

“To be sure, it is baffling how the EFCC expects the serving senator to be in two places at the same time since he does not possess any psychic abilities.”

The former governor urged his friends and supporters in Plateau State to remain calm and steadfast no matter the odds.

He said the allegation against him was not new, describing it as one of the attempts at dealing with him by a group of people.

EFCC Uncovers Property Worth N500m Allegedly Owned By Ex-Plateau Governor

Alleged Fraud: EFCC Insists Akinjide's Case Be Heard In Lagos

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says it has uncovered property worth N500 million, allegedly belonging to a former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Sunday by the acting spokesperson of the commission, Tony Orilade.

According to the statement, the property located at No. 8 and 9 Gobarau Road, Unguwan Rimi GRA in Kaduna State, has already been marked by the EFCC as a subject of investigation.

Orilade further stated that preliminary investigations revealed that the said property were purchased from New Capital Properties Limited, a subsidiary of Northern Nigerian Development (NNDC) Kaduna on behalf of Jang.

The EFCC had on May 7, 2018, filed 12 charges against Jang for an alleged fraud of about N6.3bn when he served as governor of Plateau State.

Former Plateau Gov Jonah Jang Joins 2019 Presidential Race

Former Plateau Governor Jonah Jang and his wife during Jang’s formal declaration of join presidential race.

 

Former Governor of Plateau Jonah Jang has formally announced his interest and decision to join the 2019 presidential race.

He made the announcement on Tuesday at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secretariat in Jos, Plateau State capital with party chairman and officials as well as political associates in attendance.

Jang, who is representing Plateau North in the National Assembly led his supporters to the PDP secretariat on Tuesday to formally announce his interest to contest for the presidency.

His political associates, some former lawmaker and former ministers were also at with the event.

Jang was earlier this year arraigned before Plateau State High Court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He, alongside a former cashier in the office of the Secretary to Plateau State Government, Yusuf Gyang Pam, was slammed with 12 counts bordering on alleged misuse of some special funds released to Plateau State by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The offences were said to have been perpetrated few months to the end of Jang’s tenure as governor in 2015.

On May 24, 2018, Justice Daniel Longji of the High Court granted them bail.

Drama As Court Grants Former Plateau Governor, Jonah Jang Bail

Jonah Jang
Jonah Jang

 

There was a mild drama in court today as a High Court sitting in Jos, the Plateau State capital, granted bail to the former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang and another accused person

Supporters of the former governor prevented the Jos prison officials from taking him back to the prison after the court had granted him bail.

The former governor, Jang, is standing trial for misappropriation of state funds during his tenure in office.

The Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, had in 2016 established and constituted a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate the financial spending of the two tenures of former Governor Jonah Jang.

However,  the ruling judge, Justice Daniel Longji granted the former governor on the following conditions; two sureties in the sum of N100million each.

One of the sureties must be a First Class traditional ruler within the jurisdiction, deposit of international passport.

While the second accused is to produce two sureties with N50million each, one of the sureties must be a Permanent Secretary or anyone within the rank as well as submission of International Passport.

Alleged Fraud: Court Denies Ex-Plateau Governor, Jonah Jang Bail

Jonah Jang
Jonah Jang

 

A High Court sitting in Jos has refused the bail application filed by former Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, and has adjourned the case till May 24, 2018.

The ruling judge, Justice Daniel Longji, in his application on Wednesday, adjourned the hearing adding that the accused be remanded at the Jos Prison.

The former governor, Jang, is standing trial for misappropriation of state funds during his tenure in office.

The Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, had in 2016 established and constituted a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate the financial spending of the two tenures of former Governor Jonah Jang.

In a press statement by the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the Governor, Emmanuel Nanle, the Judicial Commission of Inquiry is to be chaired by a Justice of the Port Harcourt division of the Court of Appeal, Justice Stephen Adah.

Members of the commission include Prof. Bibiana Bawa, Prof. Ekoja B. Ekoja, Engr. Samuel Onu Agamah while Alhaji Sani Yahaya Mavo is to serve as Secretary.

The Terms of Reference given to the Commission are:

(1) To ascertain all financial transactions, done or entered into by the Government of Plateau State of Nigeria or through any of its Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), or official acting in its name from the 29th day of May 2007 to 29th May 2015.

(2) To ascertain and establish all financial allocations, funds, grants or monetary interventions and revenues which accrued to or in the name of the Government of Plateau State of Nigeria. Departments, Agencies (MDAs), Officials or Agents from the Federal Government of Nigeria or any International Institutions or Donor Agencies from 29th May 2007 to 29th May 2015.

(3) To ascertain and establish all loans granted to or obtained by the Government of Plateau State of Nigeria through any of its Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs), and the purpose for which such loans were obtained and whether the loans were used for such purpose.

(4) To ascertain whether any property belonging to the Government of Plateau State or any of its Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs), Parastatals and Institutions which were sold or in any way concessioned to any person(s), or institution(s), by any Government Ministry, Department, Agency (MDAs), or officials between 29th May 2007 and 29th May 2015, followed due process or procedure and whether the proceeds of such sale or concession were paid into appropriate Government coffers.

(5) To ascertain whether any property or properties purchased or acquired for or in the name of the Government of Plateau State were purchased in line with due process and procedure.

(6) To ascertain all contracts awarded by the Government of Plateau State or any of its Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs), Parastatals or Officials between 29th May 2007 and 29th May 2015, the process  or procedure followed in the award of such contracts, the value of each contract (including any variations and whether such variations were necessary and done in good faith), the level of execution or completion of each of them and the amount paid to the contractor as at 29th May 2015.

(7) To ascertain the total amount paid by the Government of Plateau State as salaries and allowances of serving and retired State Civil Servants, Local Government Employees and Political Appointees from 29th May 2007 to 29th May 2015; And to further establish whether any person or employee of Government received multiple payments of salaries or pensions, and the role played by any person(s) toward such payments

Plateau: PDP Reconciles Mantu, Jang As APC Receives Defectors

Ibrahim Mantu, Jonah Jang, PDP, APC, Plateau
Ibrahim Mantu

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State seem to be achieving success with efforts to rebuild its structure in the state.

This is because the state’s former governor, Jonah Jang and a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu have settled their lingering feud and agreed to work together for the good of the party.

The PDP reconciliation committee set up to end the dispute was able to reconcile the duo and their teeming followers during a stakeholders meeting held in Jos, the state capital in north-central Nigeria.

Jonah Jang
Jonah Jang

Meanwhile, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has also received many defectors from other political parties into its fold.

The APC, through its National Chairman, John Oyegun, formally received former governor, Joshua Dariye and some members of the PDP into the ruling party.

APC, Petroleum

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, and other chieftains were also present to receive the new members into the party.

The PDP and APC have been putting their various houses in order and strategising for the forthcoming local government elections in Plateau State.

Political activities are on the increase with the two major political parties engaging in high level politicking towards gaining the confidence and respect of voters in the state.

Commission Of Inquiry Probing Jonah Jang Submits Report

jonah_jangThe Commission of Inquiry looking into the activities of a former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang has submitted its report to the current administration.

The report contains several volumes of findings, exhibits and recommendations on the indictment of the erstwhile administration.

In his remarks, Justice Stephen Adah, who headed the Commission, stated that the members during the public hearing had 35 days of public sitting in which everyday was a revelation through referendum, witnesses and exhibits which informed the report compiled by the six member panel.

The eight-year period of the former governor of Plateau State was put under scrutiny, with focus on the government’s activities between May 29, 2007 and May 28, 2015.

With over 100 memoranda submitted to the commission, Justice Adah said everyday was revealing and tasking before arriving at the report.

“We called for public hearing and we put in 35 days of public sitting and everyday was a new revelation of what actually informed our report. And so we thank God for the cooperation of everyone that submitted referendum and attended the public hearing.

“What we have are what the people told us. We had 195 witnesses who came and took oath before us and gave evidence we also admitted composite exhibits totalling 181 as well as our own counsels and solicitors that came to defend notable citizens mentioned during the sitting,” he explained.

Right The Wrong

Receiving the report, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, assured the members of the panel that the report would not be thrown into the dustbin like any other report, but stressed that the findings and recommendations would be put into use for good governance and accountability.

He said: “Those who think it is a waste of time and resources might be right to some extent, because over the years, reports of this nature have been stock piled on Government shelves and to say the least, consigned into the waste paper basket of history.

“This, I assure you, will not be the same with this report.

“In establishing the Commission, we took account of the outcry and groans of our people. We felt their pulse and for certain, we heard their cry. What they desired was for us to get it right and getting it right, will mean knowing where the past made a mistake, so we avoid it. Getting it right, will mean knowing where the past got it right, so we continue with it; and getting it right, will mean where the past government got it wrong, so we right the wrong for the good of the people.

“Our thrust under the good governance policy is to ensure the commonwealth of the people is rightly accounted”.

With the submission of the Commission of Inquiry on the eight year activities of former government of Jang, the people are looking forward to the white paper and implementation of the report in order to right the wrongs of the past administration.

Plateau Mourns PDP’s 2015 Governorship Candidate, Gyang Pwajok

PwajokPlateau State is mourning the demise of former senator and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate at the April 11 election in Plateau State, Gyang Pwajok.

Mr Pwajok died of related liver cancer complications at an Indian hospital on Wednesday.

The former senator, who represented Plateau North at the upper chamber, died at Apollo Hospital, Chennai, India where he was receiving treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma, a primary malignancy of the liver.

Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, who contested with the late senator for the governorship seat, in a statement said that the state and the nation would miss the contributions of the former legislator especially to the peace building process in the state and the country at large.

Former Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, in another statement described the late senator as a bridge builder that believed in one united and indivisible country as well as a mentor to the younger generation.

Gyang Pwajok has been receiving treatment for liver cancer related complications at a United Kingdom hospital where he received chemotherapy treatment before he was taken to the Apollo Hospital in India, where he died.

Plateau Election Petition Upholds Jang’s Election

plateau election tribunal uphold jang's electionThe National and State House of Assembly election petition sitting in Jos, Plateau State, has uphold the election of Jang as Senator representing Plateau North senatorial district.

Delivering judgement, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Olanrewaju Akeredolu stated that the petitioners, could not discharge the evidential burden of proof placed upon them by law; hence the failure of the petition in its entirety.

After four months of legal arguments by counsels of the petitioners and the respondents, the Plateau State Election Petition Tribunal delivered judgement in the case to determine the Senator representing Plateau North Senatorial District.

Mrs Eunice Aisha Sambo of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had challenged the election of former governor, Jonah Jang, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the Senator representing Plateau North at the Election Petition Tribunal on various allegations ranging from over voting, non election in some polling units, multiple voting as well as irregularities and discrepancies in result sheets.

The petitioners presented 20 prosecution witnesses at the tribunal in arguing the case, while less than 10 witnesses appeared for the respondents during the trial.

Delivering judgement Justice Akeredolu declared that the onus is on the petitioners to prove the allegations beyond reasonable doubt and must not only assert but also prove that non compliance as alleged during the polls, affected the election results to justify its cancellation as prayed by the petitioners.

Counsel to the petitioners told Channels Television that they are studying the judgement before the next line of action would be taken and refused any comments while counsel the respondents, Sunday Oyawole, commended the tribunal for the efforts in arriving at the judgement.

The tribunal also awarded the sum of N200, 000 cost as damages to the respondents.

Plateau Workers Embark On Indefinite Strike

PlateauWorkers in Plateau State, North Central Nigeria, have embarked on an indefinite strike to demand for the payment of salaries, gratuity and pension to retirees for over five months as well as promotions of workers.

The leadership of organised industrial union in the state has mobilised all affiliate unions to embark on the industrial action until government yields to its demand and pay all salaries owed the workers.

The organised labour in the state, comprising Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and Joint Negotiating Council, have therefore paralysed all government activities.

The Plateau State Head of Service, Ezekiel Dalyop, explained that the dwindling revenue allocation from the Federal Government has been the major challenge which has affected payment of salaries and other emoluments due to workers in the state.

With few weeks to the end of the Jonah Jang administration and the adamant posture of organised labour in Plateau State, there seems to be no meeting point until the incoming administration wades into the matter which invariably means that the public service sector is paralysed for now.

The workers believe they have to drive the point home by embarking on the industrial action at this time in order to attract the attention of the incoming administration to their plight.