By TERYIMA ANDREW
There was revelations at the Plateau state high court 5, Jos, where the former governor of the state Sen. Jonah Jang is been tried for allegedly syphoning public funds for personal gains.
A witness, Mr. Taiwo Olorunyomi, an investigator with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) on Tuesday told a Plateau State High Court that the sum of N2 Billion was in the possession of Sen. Jang, who is standing trial alongside Yusuf Pam, an accountant.
“We discovered that when the money was released, it went to the Plateau Project Account instead, the money again was later moved into another account.
“In our investigation we discovered that the money was said to be used for ‘classified expenditure’ an expenditure that has no document to prove how it was expended.
“The defendant Jonah Jang to our amazement in his statement to us said that he does not know what classified expenditure meant.
“From our investigation, the said money is still with the defendant,” he told the court.”
Mr. Olorunyomi made the claim in a witness box, as a witness in the case involving former governor of Plateau state, Sen. Jonah Jang and one other who are standing trial for abuse of office, embezzlement of funds and misappropriation.
The witness said that the accused person diverted the sum of N2 billion which the CBN released to the state government for Micro Enterprises and SME’s in Plateau state.
In his words, the witness said; “the CBN had agreed with the Plateau state government that there would be a state SME development Agency which would be the vehicle to disburse the funds and recover same.
Olorunyomi also claimed that the defendant also withdrew another N3 billion N700 million and N400 million cash in trenches from the state SUBEB Account.
He said 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 that the second defendant (Yusuf Pam) withdrew the said amounts in cash and delivered it to the first defendant (Jang) stating that their action hindered the activities in SUBEB at the time he was governor of the state.
Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) 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 Ozokhome, however objected the prayer stating that the prosecuting counsel did not present him with the documents before sitting and therefore could not present same to the court, describing it as an ‘ambush’.
Ozokhome 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 said a party must not be taken by surprise especially in a criminal case stating that if one must be a witness to tender a document, the defense must have the document.
Justice Longji then, adjourned the case till to April 11th, for continuation of hearing.