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EFCC vs Jang: Court orders trial-within–trial

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos— Plateau State High Court sitting in Jos, has ordered a trial-within-trial to ascertain whether the statement, which Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, obtained from a former cashier of Plateau State Government House, Yusuf Pam, who is facing charges on alleged corruption and misappropriation of state fund was voluntary.

Jonah Jang
Jonah Jang

Justice Daniel Longji who presided over the case in Jos, yesterday, gave the order in his ruling following allegation  that ICPC operatives pressured Pam to make written statements during investigation.

Pam is standing trial alongside former Governor of the State, Senator Jonah Jang in a 12-count charge brought against them by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which border on alleged corruption and misappropriation of the state fund amounting to over N6 bilion.

The EFCC had alleged that Jang, a two-term governor, had misappropriated the alleged fund, two months to the end of his second tenure in 2015, among others but the duo had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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When the case came up for hearing, the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, called the 8th witness, Taiwo Olorunyomi, an Investigator with ICPC, who testified before the court on how N2 billion belonging to the Plateau State Medium and Small Scale Enterprise Agency and another N3 billion of the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, were withdrawn by the cashier and taken to the former governor.

The prosecutor had sought to tender the written statement of Pam as evidence in court, but his move was objected to by defence counsel, Mike Ozekheme, SAN, who claimed the statement was not voluntarily obtained as confirmed by one of the accused, Pam, who told the court that he was pressured by ICPC operatives to make the written statement.

After arguments, prosecution and defense counsel agreed for the court to proceed on trial-within-trial of the matter to ascertain if the statement was voluntarily obtained by the commission.

Justice Daniel Longji, therefore, adjourned the case for a trial-within-trial till April 25 and 26, 2019.

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