Saturday, October 31, 2020

Nigeria: Court sets date for no-case submission in corruption case against ex-governor Jonah Jang

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Justice Daniel Longji of the Federal High Court in Jos, Plateau State has set December 31 to rule on the no-case submission by a former governor of the state, Senator Jonah Jang.

The judge fixed the date on Monday, said a statement by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren.

EFCC has been prosecuting the lawmaker since March 2018 on an amended 17-count, alongside a cashier in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (OSSG), Yusuf Pam, for alleged corruption and misappropriation of Plateau State funds to the tune of N6.32billion.

On December 17, Justice Longji set December 23 for the adoption of written addresses by the parties in the no-case submission of the defence to which the prosecution counsel, H.O. Ejiga, decried the late service of notice of the defence’s written address on its no-case submission.

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He noted that it ran contrary to the court pronouncement of November 18 that the defence should file its no-case submission within 14 days, and for the prosecution to file its response within 10 days of service of the defence’s no-case submission.

At Wednesday’s proceeding, counsel to the first defendant (Jang), E.G Phajok, and that of the second defendant, S. Olawale, submitted that the filing of their no-case submission was in order and properly done.

He also urged the judge to set the defendants free, arguing that the EFCC has failed to establish a case against them.

However, the lead prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, made an oral application for the court to allow him more time to respond to the no-case submission, insisting that the defendants have case to answer.

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“My lord the first defendant (Jonah Jang) made a statement that he signed the money and made the approval.

“If the court set them free, how will the state recover its N6.32 billion? And these series of withdrawals happened during the 2015 general elections,” he said.

The prosecution counsel also observed that there was no decision by Plateau’s State Executive Council to grant Jang the approval as governor to borrow the money, and as such, Jang, he said acted arbitrarily in borrowing the money.

He observed that there was no approval from the National Economic Council (NEC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for Senator Jang to borrow the money as governor.

“I, therefore, request the kind permission of my lord to halt the ruling and follow the law of the Supreme Court,” Jacob added.

The judge, thereafter, adjourned the matter until December 31 for ruling.

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