The former governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah David Jang, and a former cashier in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Yusuf Pam, were both cleared of the seventeen-count charges brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, or EFCC, in a judgement issued by Justice C. L. Dabup of the Plateau State High Court. Fastnews reports
The allegations included theft of N6.3 billion worth of Plateau State monies and criminal breach of trust.
In a statement by its Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren., the commission said: “The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to the Friday, September 2, 2022 judgment of Justice C. L. Dabup of the Plateau State High Court sitting in Jos, discharging and acquitting a former governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah David Jang and a former cashier in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, OSSG, Yusuf Pam, of the seventeen-count charges bordering on criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of Plateau State funds to the tune of N6.3 billion.The Commission has initiated processes for an Appeal immediately.”
The court quashed all the 17 count charges preferred against the former governor and the former cashier, saying “that the case instituted against them lacked merit and they are hereby dismissed and acquitted of the charges.”
Sen.Jang and Yusuf Pam, were being prosecuted before Justice C. L. Dabup of Plateau State High Court sitting in Jos on 6.2 billion of small scale and medium enterprise and SUBEB funds running into billions of naira.
However, the EFCC couldn’t prove the burden or establish beyond reasonable doubt allegations of 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10&17 count charges labeled against the former governor and the cashier making it impossible for the court to secure any conviction brought by the prosecution under section 135 subsection 1&2 of 2011 which is inline with the 1999 constitution amended.
Besides, the EFCC presented the fourteenth witness (Pw14), a Chief Superintendent of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Commission (ICPC), Taiwo Oloronyomi, who testified against the defendants.
The crux of the statement pertained to the withdrawal of monies through cheques approved by the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Secretary to the State government, which was taken to the first defendant (Jang) . The court said it didn’t find substantive proof of evidence showing that the accused personally siphoned or diverted such monies.
The defendants’ counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) and S. Oyewole applauded the court for the judgment.
Jang in a reaction to the judgment delivered by Justice Christen Dabup, said that he did his best via prudent management of the resources available to them such that the average Plateau citizen could eke a living for himself.
The former governor said that it was, however, unfortunate that the champions of retrogression and enablers of hardship for the people, came after him and his lieutenants with bogus and fictitious claims of mismanagement.
“Thereby necessitating a protracted judicial journey of over four years, trying to prove our innocence in the courts.
“In the course of this travail, I spent over a week in EFCC detention and another ten days in the Jos Custodial Centre (prison).
“Those times we spent there gave us another perspective on life and I count it a blessing because it has all ended today with this loud and clear vindication by the courts.
“The tortuous journey leading to my vindication today has only strengthened me to stand more on the path of truth and continue to work assiduously with well-meaning people for the good of our dear state, Plateau and the nation at large,” he stated.