A witness in the ongoing trial of Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang, Tuesday, told the court how the ex-Governor diverted over N2bn from the coffers of the state government.
The witness, an investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alleged that Jang, diverted the morning which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), released to the state government for Micro Enterprises and SME’s.
It will be recalled that on May 7, a 12-count charge bordering on alleged corruption and misappropriation was prefferred against Jang by the EFCC.
The EFCC alleged that Jang, who served as Plateau Governor between 2007 and 2015, misappropriated N6bn, two months to the end of his tenure as Governor.
Led in evidence by EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), in a High Court in Plateau, Bode Olorunyomi, said:”The CBN entered into a partnership with the Plateau Government to establish a state SME development Agency which would be the vehicle to disburse the funds and recover same.
It was alleged that Jang embezzled the money through Pam Yusuf, then a cashier in the office of the Secretary to the State Government.
“We discovered that when the money was released, it went to the Plateau Project Account instead of the SME project.
“The money again was later moved into another account. In our investigation we discovered that the money was used for classified expenditure, an expenditure that has no document to prove how it was expended.
“The defendant, Jang, to our amazement in his statement told us that he did not know what classified expenditure meant. From our investigation, the said money is still with the defendant,” he told the court.
Olorunyomi also claimed that the defendant withdrew another N3bn, N700m and N400m cash in trenches from the state SUBEB Account.
He said that Jang stated that the money was borrowed from the account to pay contractors, fund other liabilities in the state and for ‘classified expenditure’.
The witness said the second defendant, Yusuf, withdrew the said amount in cash and delivered it to the first defendant stating that their action hindered the activities in SUBEB at the time he was Governor of the state.
Also, Jacobs while presenting the second witness, the Secretary to the State Government of Plateau and tendering the statement of the second defendant prayed the court to accept documents tendered by the witness.
Counsel to Jang, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), however objected to the prayer, stating that the prosecution did not present him with the documents before sitting and therefore could not present same to the court, describing it as an ‘ambush’.
Ozekhome prayed the court to reject the calling of the witness and accept the statement of the second defendant as he was not served with the documents before the court sitting.
The judge, Justice Daniel Longji, in his ruling, held that a party must not be taken by surprise especially in a criminal case.
Longji held that if one must present a document as exhibit, the defence must have the document.