By Jide Afolabi, Jos
Former Plateau State Governor, Jonah David Jang and his aide, Yusuf Pam were both docked at the State High Court, Jos, where the duo are facing allegations bordering on misappropriation of funds to the tune 6.7 billion naira.
The duo were docked on Thursday and Friday as the cross-examination of the prosecution witness eleven continues.
Jang and his aide, Yusuf Pam, a Cashier at the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, were alleged of colluding and diverted state funds to personal use.
The duo and Yakubu Jang, son of the former governor are standing trial before Honourable Justice Daniel Longji on the alledged 6.7 billion naira fraud.
The first defendant leads counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN while cross-examining the witness, he narrated how Yusuf Pam was delivering “Ghana-must-go” bags loaded with cash to Jang at the new Government House in Little Rayfield, Jos.
The witness said: “The new Government House is located at the outskirt of town amidst a lot of buildings.
“Amongst the buildings was the office of the SSG of the state where Pam and the EFCC detectives reported their arrival to the SSG.
“From the SSG’s office, we were led to the Governor’s Office, the Governor’s office, a story-building with two doors one at the main entrance and at the back exit.
“There, Pam showed us how he delivered cash in ‘Ghana must go’ bags to the former Governor.
“He had clearly said and even showed me the back entrances where the cash was stacked and given to the governor.”
Identifying Exhibit P62, a response from the Plateau State House of Assembly dated July 19, 2018 and September 2014, alongside the letter from the EFCC requesting for information, Musa told the court that investigations revealed that memos were written by the Commission of Finance, who was involved in seeking approval for the disbursement of the funds involved in the alleged fraud.
“However, the monies were further transferred from Plateau State One account to OSSG account where the second defendant withdrew cash and delivered to the first defendant,” he said.
While being questioned on the 2 billion naira in question, the witness said:
“Jang government opened a new account at Zenith Bank to secure the loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. The signatories were General Manager, Accountant General, and Finance Commissioner. The 2 billion naira was eventually lodged into the account.
He stated that the fund was expected to be refunded to the CBN from the state monthly allocation.
He added: 750 million naira was to be used to renovate primary schools and pay teachers salary but teachers were still being owed three months salary.
“The first defendants does not pay salary to the teachers, however, he approves all payments.”
Ozekhome asked: did you find out that it was the LG that pays primary school teachers salary while secondary school teachers were being paid by the state? The witness said, Yes, but it was after the JAAC account.
While being cross-examined on the schools alledged not to have been renovated by Jang which the 750 million Naira was meant for, the witness said that his team did not visit secondary schools but only primary schools were visited and the driver, Shaibu, a Plateau indigene, who took him to the schools is a staff of the EFCC and can name the schools and their locations.
In exhibit 65, the witness said that “the second defendant delivered cash to the first defendant and the money was used by the second defendant for the 2015 Governorship and Presidential election in the state. Some were lodged into 1st respondent Zenith account.”
The defendant counsel asked, do you have written documentation for this? The witness said no, but the first respondent approved the payments.
On the one hundred thousand dollars, the witness said that the money was deposited into the former governor’s dollar account with the Standard Chartered Bank in two days.
The defendant said that nowhere did Yakubu Jang deposited 100 thousand dollars in ten times in a day to Jang’s account.
The witness said, “On 30/04/2009, Yakubu Jang deposited 30, 000 USD while Jang’s banks, Uchenna, deposited the remaining 70 thousand dollars.
Ozekhome asked if the witness interviewed Yakubu Jang on what the 30, 000 dollars was meant for and the witness insisted that “Yakubu and others did and their names are captured in the statement of account.”
Musa Sunday said that the second respondent did not receive any query from his Permanent Secetary because he delivered the money has instructed to the first respondent.
Mike Ozekhome, SAN was the lead counsel for former governor Jona Jang while Rotimi Jacobs, SAN leads the EFC team.
The case was adjourned to September 30, 2019.
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