Friday, October 11, 2019 5:29 pm
Justice Daniel Longji of the Plateau State High Court, sitting in Jos, on Friday, October 11, 2019 overruled the objection brought before him by counsel to Jonah Jang, former governor of the state, to the amended charges preferred by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), against Jang.
Jang is being prosecuted by the EFCC, alongside Yusuf Pam, a cashier at the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, for an alleged N6.2billion fraud.
At the sitting on October 10, 2019, prosecuting counsel, Adeniyi Adebisi told the court of the amended charges, but it was opposed by the defence team of Edward Pwajok (for Jang), and Sunday Odey, (for Pam).
At the resumed sitting, S.A. Oguntiyi, who was counsel for Pam, told the court he needed time to either oppose or concede to his client being re-arraigned on the amended charges.
“We have gone through the amended charges but due to the time constraint our legal argument is yet to be concluded as my lord has adjourned to rule on the matter today,” Oguntiyi said, and requested the court to give him till Monday (October 14, 2019) before ruling on the matter.
However, Justice Longji declared that he was ready with his ruling. In his judgement, he said: “The crux of the matter is whether the position of the amendment is provided by law and backed up by same. Therefore, I am by this argument guided by the law looking at the provisions of Section 19 and 22(5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
“I do not see how the defendant is embarrassed or prejudiced and hold that the Section 36(12) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not in any way breached.
“The application of the defendant lacks merit and is hereby dismissed.”
Justice Longji further granted the request of the prosecuting counsel, Henry Ejiga, for the defendants to be re-arraigned on the amended charges, following which Jang and Pam, pleaded not guilty to the amended charges.
While the defence team, applied for a recall of all the prosecution witnesses for the purpose of further cross-examination, Justice Longji held that the schedule for cross–examination of the witnesses should be restricted to the fresh issues captured in the amended charges.
The matter was adjourned till October 30, 31 and November 1, 2019.