The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday re-arraigned former Plateau State governor, Jonah David Jang, and a former cashier in the Office Secretary to the State Government (OSSG), Yusuf Pam.
They were re-arraigned before Justice C. L. Dabup of Plateau State High Court, Jos, on an amended 17-count charge.
The duo of Jang and Pam are being prosecuted by the EFCC for alleged criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of Plateau State funds to the tune of N30,236,024,219.88 (Thirty Billion, Two Hundred and Thirty-six Million, Twenty-four Thousand, Two Hundred and Nineteen Naira, Eighty-eight kobo).
The anti-graft agency said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 315, 309, 19 and 22(5) of the Penal Code Law and Corrupt Practices Act 2004, (as amended).
Jang and Pam were first arraigned in June 2018, on 17 count charges bothering on Misappropriation of funds, criminal breach of trust and corrupt advantages.
In 2018, Justice Daniel Longji, on his last sitting on the bench on Dec. 29, 2019, dismissed the defendants’ no-case-submission and held that the defendants had a case to answer.
The Chief Judge of the State, Justice Yakubu Dakwak, subsequently reassigned the case to Justice Christy Dabup of Court IV for the continuation of trial.
At the resumed hearing on Monday before Justice Dabup, EFCC’s Counsel, Mr A.O. Otolade, applied for the fresh arraignment of the two defendants since the case was starting de-no-vo (afresh).
“I urge your lordship to permit us, the prosecution read the charges to the accused for them to take their pleas, ” Otolade pleaded.
When the charges were read to the defendants, they pleaded not guilty.
Otolade then applied for an adjournment to enable the prosecution to prepare for its case against the defendants.
He said the prosecution would be calling about 15 witnesses to testify in the case.
But Jang’s lawyer, Mr 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.
“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,” Pwajok explained.
Mr Sunday Odeh, Counsel to Pam, concurred with Pwajok’s plea.
While EFCC’s counsel did not object to their pleas, he, however, urged the court to order the sureties to produce affidavits to show that they were still standing for the defendants.
Justice Dabup however, granted the bail application and adjourned the case until May 26, May 27 and May 28 for definite hearing of the case.
She ordered the sureties to provide affidavits to the court within four days to show that they were still standing for defendants.