A Plateau State High Court sitting in Jos, on Wednesday remanded former state Governor, Jonah Jang in prison, pending ruling in the bail application over alleged corruption and misappropriation. The Judge, Justice D.D Longji, gave the order after listening to the arguments and submissions of both defense and prosecution counsels.
Newsmen report that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Monday May 7, arraigned Jang, on a 12- count charge bordering on alleged corruption and misappropriation. Jang, who currently represents Plateau North Senatorial District, is alleged to have misappropriated over N6 billion, two months to the end of his tenure, as governor of Plateau in 2015. According to the charges, Jang is also said to have allegedly embezzled over N4 billion from the state coffers through a cashier in the office of the Secretary to the State Government, one Yusuf Pam. Joined as co-accused, is Pam, alleged to have personally enriched himself with N11 million.
The prosecution counsel said that the offences contravened Section 315 of the Penal Code. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge. The defence counsel, Robert Clarke, in a written application during the arraignment prayed the court to grant his clients bail on self recognition as a two-time governor and a serving senator. He said that if the bail was granted, his clients would not jump bail but would be available at all times for trial. Clarke said that justice must not be seen to be done but done to be seen.
But the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, urged the court to refuse the application for bail. He cited Section 341 (2) of the 1999 constitution and argued that an offence which attracts an imprisonment of more than three years was not bail-able offence. Jacobs added that the offences alleged to have been committed by the defendants were serious and, therefore, should not be granted bail. He submitted that with Jang’s military background, if granted the bail, would intimidate witnesses and use his influence to scare them away. The judge acceded to the prosecuting counsel’s request and ordered the defendants to be remanded at the Jos prisons.
He said that the court needed to study the submission of the lawyers on the bail application. Longji adjourned the matter to May 24, for the bench decision to be taken and set a date for commencement of trial.