Our evidence against Jang based on hearsay, EFCC tells court

The trial of the former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, continued in Jos on Thursday with the EFCC prosecution witness, Taiwo Olorunyomi, telling the court that all the evidence he tabled before the court against the former governor was based on what some people told him.

“My lord, throughout our investigation, I did not find any money in Jang’s personal account neither did I witness any money being handed over to him. But I was told that the money was withdrawn and taken to the governor in his office.”

Taiwo, an investigator with the ICPC, stated this in response to counsel to Senator Jang, Mike Ozekhome, who was cross-examining him.

The prosecution witness had earlier told the court that the former governor contravened the ICPC act when he allegedly spent the sum of N2 b of the state fund he received from the CBN on other projects other than its original purpose meant for the disbursement to Medium and Small Scale Enterprise Agency of the state.

The EFCC witness also claimed that the former governor breached the law establishing ICPC when he borrowed the sum of money from the state Universal Education Board without approval by the state House of Assembly.

When asked if the law establishing the ICPC also empowers it to dictate to states which project to embark or how the money was to be used, the ICPC witness answered “No.”

After the cross-examination, counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, called another witness, Jonah Kabong, a civil servant from the office of the Secretary to the State Government to testify in the case.

He sought to tender before the court, two classified documents containing the minutes of the state security council meeting and that of the state executive council but the move was objected to by the defense counsel, Mike Ozekhome, who argued that the prosecution counsel failed to meet the criteria necessary before tendering the documents.

According to him, the official secret act does not permit the disclosure of classified government document to members of the public without authorisation by heads of such government agency, ministries or parastatal who must personally give approval for their release.

Mr Jang and Mr Yusuf Pam, a former cashier in the Plateau State Government House in Mr Jang’s administration, were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 12-count charge, bothering on conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N6.3 billion but they pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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