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Jang: EFCC moves to nail ex-Plateau gov, presents more evidence in N6.2bn case

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Justice Daniel Longji of a Plateau State High Court, sitting in Jos, Friday admitted more evidence against a former Plateau State governor, Jonah Jang, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for an alleged N6.2 billion fraud.

At the last sitting on June 13, 2019, Jang’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome SAN, had raised objections to the admissibility of the minutes of the State Security Council meeting and that of the State Executive Council between 2014 and 2015 during Jang’s tenure.

Sunday Odey, counsel to Yusuf Gyang Pam, a cashier of the Office of the Secretary to the Plateau State Government, who is standing trial along with Jang, also objected to the admissibility of the document.

Counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs SAN, had through the ninth prosecution witness, Jonah Kabong, a civil servant in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, sought to tender the documents.

Describing them as “crucial in the prosecution of the matter”, Jacobs had argued that, “the government does not need an authority from itself to tender a document that’s within its custody”, stressing that what governed admissibility of a document in court was the Evidence Act.

At the resumed hearing, Justice Longji dismissed the objections and admitted the documents as exhibits P47 – P50.

In his ruling, the trial judge held that: “I have carefully considered the submissions of both counsels on some of the issues raised.

“The issues raised by the defence team are elementary, and the crucial issue is that all the authorities cited are considered civil matters, and none of the documents tendered in support of their position has met requirement of the law in dismissing the application made by the prosecution.”

Justice Longji further held that: “Only the State Government knows the information that will jeopardise the security of the State and the Government has released these documents, the PW9 did not tender it in a private capacity, he is a representative of the government and no private individual has the right to challenge it.”

Meanwhile, the case has been adjourned to July 10 and 11, 2019 for “continuation of trial”.

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Arewa

What Buhari told lawmakers in Katsina

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President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday in Daura told Katsina State lawmakers that leadership entails earning the trust of the people who voted you into office and consistently staying the path of honesty and fairness at all times,

Receiving the leadership of the State House of Assembly led by the Speaker, Tasiu Musa Maigari, Buhari said the essence of contesting elections was to serve the people, and political actors must always remain loyal, dedicated and focused on delivering on their promises.

“Having been chosen by your people to lead, you must ensure that you remain trustworthy. Ensure fairness at all times.

“Leadership at home, community or national level is a heavy responsibility. And it must be discharged with fairness, firmness and justice,’ the President said.

He urged the lawmakers to be selfless, visionary and committed to meeting the needs of the electorate while minding their constitutional responsibilities.

In his remark, the Speaker thanked the President for providing leadership at the national level, and setting a standard on integrity and forthrightness for others to emulate.

Maigari assured the President that the Katsina House of Assembly will continue to support his policies, and ensure a trickling down in the state to favour their various constituencies.

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Law

Court grants request to freeze ex-Zamfara governor, Yari’s accounts

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted a request by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related offences Commission (ICPC) to freeze bank accounts allegedly owned by the immediate past Governor of Zamfara State, Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in a ruling on Friday, in an ex-parte motion by the ICPC, ordered that the accounts in Polaris and Zenith banks with funds in United States dollars and Nigerian naira, be frozen pending when the affected person shows cause why the freezing order should be vacated.

Justice Taiwo ordered ICPC to publish the order within 14 days in a national daily and for the affected parties to show cause why the funds would not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

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Arewa

Kwara probe: Panel uncovers massive fraud

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Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara has said that the government may institute legal action against some immediate-past public office holders over the illegal sales of government property in the state.

He spoke in Ilorin, when the Committee On Sales and Disposal of government Properties submitted its final report to him.

The governor Abdulrazaq said “I thank you for your time and the efforts put into the work.
“I went through the interim report and I am sure this final report would be an improvement on it.
“We would not discard the report because that would be a waste of your time and resources. We will definitely look at it. And we will find judicial solutions for the good of the state and Nigeria.

“In the interim report, that you recently submitted,we saw some abnormalities which we will not allow to stand”.

Governor Abdulrazaq said the committee might be called upon to make clarification as government looks through the report.

Earlier, Senator Suleiman Ajadi, Chairman of the committee, told the governor that several frauds and mismanagement of public funds and properties were discovered, especially in the handling of the Micro, Small and Medium scale Enterprises funds, Harmony Holdings, and others.

He urged the governor not to let the report end in the bin as it might mean the loss of at least N5bn allegedly mismanaged through the SMEs fund.

Ajadi said “The committee observed unconscionable and immoral use of public funds to buy luxury cars, which flies in the face of the poverty being faced by our people, especially because of the several months of unpaid salaries”.

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