After the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) closed its case against former Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, and a former cashier in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (OSSG), Yusuf Pam, the defendants have offered not to open their defence.
Their counsels, Mike Ozekhome SAN and S. Olawale informed the court of their decision not to do so.
Ozekhome said “we humbly intend to rely on the case of the prosecution because we believe and submit it is irredeemable, battered and drained of existential blood. We do not need to open any case for evidence in order not to waste the precious time of this honourable court.”
The had on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, closed its case against Jang and Pam before Justice C. L. Dabup of Plateau State High Court sitting in Jos.
The case was closed after the Commission presented fourteen witnesses and tendered several exhibits.
Jang and Pam are facing trial for alleged criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of Plateau State funds to the tune of N6.3 billion.
At the last sitting, the EFCC had presented its fourteenth witness (PW14), a Chief Superintendent of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Commission (ICPC), Taiwo Oloronyomi, who testified against the defendants.
But while tendering the statement in evidence, the second defendant’s counsel, S. Olawale, raised objection, arguing that the statement of his client to the ICPC was not voluntary as he was subjected to physical and psychological torture by one Hajiya Fatima Mohammed of the ICPC. This prompted the court to order a trial within trial.
Ruling on the trial within trial on Tuesday, Justice Dabup admitted in evidence the statement which the second defendant made on November 17, 2016 to the ICPC. 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 Judge however rejected the statement made on November 23, 2016, saying that the mandatory cautionary word was not taken before the second defendant volunteered to write his statement.
Following the defence counsels’ position and Ozekhome’s citing of Section 301(3) of the Plateau State Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2018, and explanation that “If we are not providing any evidence, the law says that the prosecution has fourteen (14) days to address the court, and ten (10) days for the defence to reply, and another five (5 days) for the prosecution to reply on point of law,” the Judge adjourned the matter to July 1, 2022 for adoption of final written addresses.