Thursday, April 22, 2021

EFCC re-arraigns Jonah Jang over alleged N6.3bn fraud


tiamin rice

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, on Monday re-arraigned a former governor of Plateau, Jonah Jang, over an alleged N6.3 billion fraud.

The former governor was arraigned alongside a cashier in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Yusuf Pam.

Recall that the duo were first arraigned in June 2018, on a 17-count charge of misappropriation of funds, criminal breach of trust and corrupt advantages.

The offence, according to the EFCC, contravened the provisions of sections 315, 309, 19 and 22(5) of the Penal Code Law and Corrupt Practices Act 2004, (as amended).

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Justice Daniel Longji had on December 29, 2019, dismissed the defendants’ no-case-submission, and asked them to enter their defence.

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The state Chief Judge, Justice Yakubu Dakwak, later reassigned the case to Justice Christy Dabup of Court IV after Justice Longji retired from the bench.

At the resumed hearing on Monday, the EFCC’s counsel, A.O. Otolade, applied for the fresh arraignment of the two defendants since the case was starting de-no-vo (afresh).

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

However, the defendants pleaded not guilty when the charges were read out to them.

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

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

However, Jang’s lawyer, Edward Pwajok, SAN, opposed the application for adjournment and pleaded with the court to allow the bail earlier granted his clients on May 24, 2018, to continue.

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“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,” Mr Pwajok said.

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