Court Overrules Defence, Admits More Evidence Against ex-Plateau Gov, Jang

Justice Daniel Longji of a Plateau State High Court, sitting in Jos, on June 27, 2019 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 counsel for Jang, 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 for 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.”

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

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