By Kenneth Okoro (Financial Crime a Reporter)
Justice Daniel Longji of the Federal High Court, Jos, Plateau State on Monday, December 23, 2019 set December 31, 2019 for ruling on the no case submission by former Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, now a senator.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been prosecuting Jang since March 2018 on amended 17-count charge, alongside a cashier in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (OSSG), Yusuf Pam for corruption and misappropriation of Plateau State funds to the tune of N6.32billion.
It would be recalled that Justice Longji had on Tuesday December 17, 2019, set December 23, 2019 for the adoption of written addresses by the parties in the no case submission of the defence to which prosecution counsel, H. O. Ejiga, lamented the late service of notice of the defence’s written address on its no case submission.
He noted that it ran contrary to the November 18, 2019 court pronouncement 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 today’s proceeding, counsel to first defendant (Jang), E.G Phajok (SAN) and that to the second defendant, S. Olawale submitted that the filing of their no case submission was in order and properly done and urged the judge to set the defendants free, arguing that the EFCC has failed to establish a case against them.
However, lead prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) 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.
“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 further 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.
The prosecution counsel further observed that there was no approval from the National Economic Council (NEC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for 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 adjourned the matter until December 31, 2019 for ruling.