From Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
A Jos High Court has remanded the immediate past Governor of Plateau State and Senator representing Plateau North, Jonah Jang and Yusuf Gyang Pam
in prison custody over alleged misappropriation of state funds.
The judge has also fixed Thursday 24 May, 2018, for ruling on their bail application.
Jang was in court to seek bail, so that he will be released from EFCC custody.
It would be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had on Monday May 7, 2017, preferred a 12-count fraud charge against immediate past Governor of the State and Senator representing Plateau North, Jonah Jang, for alleged misappropriation of over N6.3 billion, two months to the end of his tenure as governor in 2015.
According to the charges, Jang, allegedly embezzled some special funds released to the state by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
In one of the counts, the former governor was alleged, among other things, to have pocketed N2 billion released by the CBN for disbursement to small and medium enterprises in the state under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Funds, MSMEDF, just a month before the expiration of his tenure in April 2015.
Jang is also said to have abused his office as the governor by collecting money to the tune of N4.3 billion from the state coffers through the cashier in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government.
However, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other-Related Offences Commission who had filed the same charges on Wednesday withdrew the charges it had filed against Senator Jang and a cashier, Yusuf Gyang Pam.
Delivering his ruling, Justice Daniel Longji, struck out the charges, saying “the prosecution has the right to withdraw the application, the case is hereby struck out.”
On granting bail to the accused, Justice Longji said the ruling would be on Thursday next week (24/5/2018) and the matter was adjourned for that date.
Reacting to the ruling, Counsel to the accused, Robert Clarke (SAN), said, “The defendant was brought to court and the charges were read to him and he pleaded not guilty.
“We have applied for bail, and have asked the court to grant us bail in self recognisance, the court have refused and the Court says it has to give a bench decision on bail.
Also speaking, Counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said, “You will recalled that his lordship granted us leave to prefer a charge, and it was adjourned to today for arraignment, the plea of the accused persons were taken and after the plea were taken, they argued the two application for bail and is adjourned till next week Thursday for ruling.
“And his lordship remanded the defendants to prison custody (Jos Prison) pending Thursday.
When asked if he was satisfied with what transpired in court, Jacobs said, “is not for me to be satisfied, but to see that justice is being done, so we believe that justice is being done.