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Alleged N6.3bn fraud: Our evidence against Jang based on hearsay – EFCC tells court

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The trial of a former Governor of Plateau State and the immediate past Senator, who represented Plateau North, Jonah Jang continued in Jos with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Prosecution witness, Taiwo Olorunyomi, informing the court that all the evidence he tabled before it against the former governor was based on what some people told him.

It would be recalled that Senator Jang and Yusuf Pam, a former cashier in the Plateau State Government House during Jang’s administration, were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on a 12-count charge, bothering on conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N6.3 billion, an act contrary to, and punishable under Sections 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2011, as amended.

Both Jang and Pam have since pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Olorunyomi, an investigator with the ICPC informed the court in response to Counsel to Senator Jang, Mike Ozekhome, (SAN) who was cross-examining him; that, “My lord, throughout our investigation, I did not find any money in Jang’s personal account neither did I witness any money being handed over to him. But I was told that the money was withdrawn and taken to the Governor in his office.”

The prosecution witness had earlier told the court that the former governor contravened the ICPC act when he allegedly spent the sum of N2 billion of the state fund he received from the CBN on other projects other than its original purpose meant for the disbursement to Medium and Small Scale Enterprise Agency of the state.

The EFCC witness also claimed that Jang breached the law establishing ICPC, when he borrowed money from the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) without approval by the state House of Assembly.

When asked if the law establishing the ICPC also empowers it to dictate to states which project to embark or how the money was to be used, the ICPC witness answered “No”.

When he was further asked if he was aware of the existence of a law in Plateau State which permits internal and external borrowing by government, the ICPC witness said he was aware.

After the cross examination, Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs called another witness, Jonah Kabong, a civil servant from the office of the Secretary to the State Government to testify in the case.

Jacobs sought to tender before the court two classified documents containing the minutes of the State Security Council meeting and that of the State Executive Council, but the move was objected to by the Defense Counsel, Mike Ozekhome who argued that the Prosecution Counsel failed to meet the criteria necessary before tendering the documents.

According to him, “the official secret act does not permit the disclosure of classified government document to members of the public without authorization by heads of such government agency, ministries or parastatal who must personally give approval for their release.

Ozekhome, who cited several authorities to buttress his argument, pointed out that even if the approval is given, the law allows only the judge to have access to the information which isn’t to be delivered to him in his chambers because of the sensitive nature of the material.

His argument was supported by Counsel to the 2nd Defendant, Sunday Odey who added that it is in the interest of the EFCC counsel not to violate the official secret act as the law also prescribed punishment for offenders.

However, the EFCC Prosecution Counsel, Jacobs rejected their submission and insisted that the legal authorities, which they cited regarding the official secret act only applies to the federal government and not the state government.

He urged the court to accept the documents as exhibits because of their relevance to the case.

Meantime, after listening to arguments by both Counsels, which bordered on the admissibility or otherwise of the two documents, Justice Daniel Longji adjourned the case to 27th June, 2019, for ruling and continuation of the matter.

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Law

Why you must not sell ‘forfeited properties’ – court warns Okorocha

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A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has ordered former governor, Rochas Okorocha and his family not to sell or alienate any of the properties that were subject of an interim order of the court pending the conclusion of investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Presiding Justice J. K. Omotosho also directed the applicants to, on or before Tuesday, September 17, depose to an affidavit of undertaking and adjourned to September 27, for report.

The anti-graft spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren disclosed this in a statement in Abuja.

Uwujaren added that judge gave the Consequential Order while vacating the July 25, Interim Order, forfeiting five properties owned by Okorocha and his family to the Federal Government.

The properties are: Rochas Foundation College, Owerri, All in 1 Shopping Mall, East High Academy, East High College and Royal Spring Palm Hotel & Apartments.

But Registered Trustees of Rochas Foundation College, All-in Limited, Royal Spring Palm Apartments Limited, Registered Trustees of Women of Divine Destiny Initiative and Uluoma Okorocha Nwosu, it was learnt, had challenged the order on August 8, through five separate motion on notice praying the court to vacate the interim forfeiture order.

Also, the commission in response filed counter affidavits to the motions of the applicants on 19 August.

EFCC , however, said when the case came up for hearing on August 21, the applicants’ informed the court that they were served with the commission’s counter affidavits and asked for an adjournment which was granted by court.

However, when the case came up on September 9, for hearing of the motions, the applicants reportedly filed further affidavits and in reply to these further affidavits, the commission also filed counter affidavits to the applicants’ further affidavit and served them same day.

But applicants’ counsel, Okey Amechi, SAN, reportedly informed Justice Omotosho that they were just served and the court adjourned the case to Wednesday, September 11, for hearing.

Further, the EFCC affirmed, “After the court sitting, the applicants’ served the commission with 2nd Further Affidavit at precisely 11:21 am.

“On Thursday, September 12, 2019, Counsel to the Commission informed the Court that the Applicants had served him with their 2ndFurther Affidavits and that he would need time to respond.

“The Court gave the Commission till Friday, September,13, 2019 to file its Counter Affidavits, failing which it will make a consequential order.

“This was after counsel to the applicants had drawn the attention of the court to the nature of the properties, one of which is a school which was scheduled to resume in September.

“On Friday, September 13, 2019 when the matter came up, Counsel to the Commission informed the Court that he is yet to file its Counter Affidavits and the Court issued the consequential order vis-à-vis the nature of the properties involved”.

Meanwhile, the commission said it was studying the consequential order of court.

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Crime

EFCC arrests 11 Yahoo boys in Sapele [PHOTO]

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Operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Benin zonal office nabbed eleven suspected internet fraudsters at their hideouts in an early morning raid in Sapele, Delta State on Saturday.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by EFCC Spokesman, Tony Orilade.

EFCC gave the names of the arrested suspects as Omomua Victor, Demi Johnson, Agufure Godstime, Agboroko Precious, Anthony Omonomo, Onskharoma Julius and Freeborn Efe. Others are Akama Precious, Tagbajiemi Promise George Raphael and Stanley Agabiri.

The raid which was conducted in the wee hours of the day was based on intelligence.

Items recovered from the suspects at the point of arrest include a laptop computer, a Mercedes-Benz car, computers, mobile phones, flash drives and internet modems.

EFCC added that the suspects have made useful statements and will be charged to court as soon as investigations are completed.

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Crime

Okada rider allegedly beats wife to death for not breastfeeding baby

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The police command in Ogun State has apprehended a 40-year-old okada rider, Kingsley Madukwe, for allegedly beating his 40-year-old wife, Glory Madukwe to death.

The arrest of the suspect, it was learnt, was a result of a report by one Chief Rafiu Gbadamosi, the Baale of Egando in Atan, Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government area of the state.

The Baale had told the police that the couple had a minor misunderstanding as a result of which the husband beat the wife to death at about 11:30pm on Wednesday.

A statement by the State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the DPO Atan Ota division, SP Salau Abiodun, led his detectives to the scene where the suspect was promptly arrested.

“On interrogation, the suspect, who is an indigene of Ihiala in Anambra State, narrated that his late wife, a mother of eight, was having a month old baby and that the baby was crying, which made him to wake his wife up to breastfeed the baby, but she refused claiming that she was too tired to breastfeed the baby at that time,” Oyeyemi said.

The PPRO added that the deceased wife got up and went to the sitting room without carrying the baby.

This was said to have angered the husband, consequent upon which he drew his wife back and “gave her a hot slap.”

He said the woman fell down and gave up the ghost.

The corpse of the victim had since been deposited at the General Hospital, Ota mortuary for post mortem.

“The Commissioner of Police, CP Bashir Makama, has ordered the immediate transfer of the suspect to the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for further investigation and prosecution,” Oyeyemi said.

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