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Court discharges, acquits Jang of N6.3b fraud

From Teryima Ajijah, Jos

A Plateau State High Court sitting in Jos has discharged and acquitted a former governor of Plateau State, Sen. Jonah David Jang of N6.3 billion allegedly embezzled shortly before leaving office as governor in 2015.

Delivering judgement Friday at the state High Court Jos, Justice Justice Christine Dabup said the accused (Jonah Jang) was discharged of the 17 count charges leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

Justice Dabup quashed the 17 count charges leveled against the former governor and the cashier, that the case instituted against them lack merit and thereby dismissed and acquitted the accused.

Recall that Jang was being prosecuted alongside Mr Yusuf Pam, the former cashier to the Office of Secretary to Plateau Government, for alleged misappropriation and diversion of the said funds.

Addressing journalists, shortly after the judgment, lead counsel to Jang, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) said all the 26 witnesses brought before the two judges who prosecuted the case testified in favour of Jang.

Ozekhome also informed journalists that the court revealed that there was no trace of the said N6.3 billion public funds to Jang nor any of his relations.

Expressing satisfaction with the judgment, Jang said he dedicated the victory to God, thanked the judiciary and citizens who stood by him during the proceedings.

“I dedicate my victory in the court to God and the people of Plateau State with whom we worked to build a prosperous land. I thank the entire legal team led by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN and Barrister Edward Pwajok, SAN, my family, who suffered all kinds of harassment and denigration through this period for standing firm and believing with me that it was only a phase that would pass.

“I am deeply grateful to my friends and associates for upholding me and all those who were persecuted alongside me in prayers and for their commitment to true friendship and camaraderie.

“I must thank the judiciary for standing firm on the side of truth and justice, not forgetting the Press on the Plateau for their unbiased coverage,” he stated.

The former governor noted further said; “I hold no grudge against anyone as I consider whatever I have gone through as the price I had to pay for choosing the path of leadership.”

Meanwhile, counsel to the EFCC, Barr Oluwaleke Atolabi in an interview with journalists said they will study and review the judgment for possible appeal.

Reacting to the judgment, the Senator representing Plateau Northern Senatorial District, Istifanus Gyang, through his Senior Media Assistant, Precious Nyako, noted that the federal legislator said the victory is divine.

He stated that “the discharge and acquittal of former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang and Yusuf Pam of all corruption charges by a Jos High Court following prosecution by the EFCC has been described as a divine vindication.

“Senator Gyang says that the outcome of the trial indicates that the Nigerian judiciary can still be relied upon for fair and just adjudication and justice administration.”

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