Alleged N6.3bn fraud: My statement indicting ex-governor Jang taken under duress – Ex-cashier

EFCC arraigns former Gov. Jonah Jang in Jos
File photo of Former Governor of Plateau, Sen Jonah Jang (M) being escorted by EFCC operatives during Jang’s appearance at the high court for alleged case of corruption by the EFCC, in Jos on Wednesday (16/5/18). 02547/16/5/2018/ Sunday Adah/HB/BJO/NAN

Yusuf Pam, a former cashier under the administration of former Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State, told a High Court on Wednesday that the statement he made indicting his former boss, was taken by EFCC under duress.

Mr Pam made the allegation while being cross-examined by EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN.

Mr Jang is currently a senator representing Plateau North Senatorial District.

Messrs Jang and Yusuf Pam, a former cashier in the Plateau Government House, were arraigned by the EFCC over N6.3 billion fraud allegedly committed between September 2010 and October 2014.

Messrs Jang and Pam are charge with 12 counts of conspiracy and money laundering allegedly committed when he (Jang) was governor of Plateau State.

The EFCC alleged that the defendants conspired to defraud the state of N6.3 billion, via illegal acts.

The anti-graft agency said the acts were contrary to, and punishable under sections 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2011, as amended.

”When I got to the EFCC office, some officers threatened to detain me for two weeks.

“They also told me that I was under arrest and that anything I say would be used against me. I became scared and wrote what they wanted me to write,” he alleged,

The judge, Justice Daniel Longji, after listening to the defendant ordered for a trial-within-trial to ascertain if the statement was taken under duress.

Mr Longji held that in criminal trial, the law was always in favour of the accused person adding that time should be given to the defence to prepare for the mini-trial.

He adjourned the matter until April 25 and April 26 for trial-within-trial.

Earlier, Counsel to the defendant, S.G Ode, however stated that his client was not ready to enter the trial as he needed adequate time and facilities to present his case citing Section 36 (6b) of the Evidence Act to prove his point.

But Mr Jacobs argued that it was the duty of the prosecution to establish if the statement was made voluntarily or not stating the defense counsel prayer was simply to ‘gag’ him.

(NAN)

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