Alleged N6.32bn fraud: How ex-Gov Jang deceived CBN to secure N2bn loan – EFCC witness

Olowofela Adeniyi
9 Min Read
Jonah Jang

Sunday Musa, a witness in the ongoing trial of a former governor of Plateau State, David Jonah Jang, on Thursday, February 10, 2022, told a Plateau State High Court presided over by Justice Christy Dabup, how the Plateau State Government under Jang deceived the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to approve a loan of N2 billion for the Plateau State Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, PLASMEDA.

Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, Musa, an investigator with the EFCC and 10th prosecuting witness (PW10), said PLASMEDA was non-existent at the time the loan request was made and that the fund was not utilized for the purpose which it was obtained.

“Investigation revealed that the letter sent by the 1st defendant to CBN was deceit, because there was no office for PLASMEDA, nor was anybody employed as a staff. The letter sent was to deceive the CBN to approve the N2 billion loan. In the course of our investigation, our findings showed that the N2billion was moved from the Project 1 account to the Office of the Secretary to the State Government account, and it was spent for classified expenditure which is the pure diversion of public funds,” he said.

The witness told the Court that the OSSG account witnessed massive withdrawals by the 2nd defendant.

“This account, in 2014 – 2015, the withdrawal rose to N350 million – N400 million daily in N10 million tranches. The account was opened as soon as the 1st defendant became the Governor of Plateau State and billions of Naira passed through that account, the statement of account is before this Court”.

PW10 further revealed that funds, which were approved for the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, were never utilized for the stated purposes as teachers’ salaries were not paid for more than 10 months.

The account statements of former Governor Jang with Zenith Bank, FCMB and Standard Chartered Bank, which indicated suspicious transactions from the Plateau State account with Zenith Bank (Plateau Project 1), were tendered in evidence and admitted as Exhibits P47, P48 and P49.

Musa further told the court that the investigation into Jang’s administration of Plateau State was triggered by a petition in 2014 from a civil society organization, Civil Society Against Corruption and signed by one Olanrewaju Suraj The petition was entitled ‘Allegation of Gross Misconduct to the tune of N20 billion’. He said other allegations included contract scam, misappropriation and mismanagement of Plateau State Government funds. He added that another petition from the Plateau Patriotic Front was attached by CSAC.

Musa identified the petitions which were subsequently admitted in evidence as exhibits P45.

“My lord, during our investigation, we called the 1st defendant who came to our office; we gave him the petitions, he read through and we asked him to respond to them. He made several statements, my lord. Each time he made statements in regards to those allegations in the petitions and the intelligence reports, he closed the statements by signing the end of the statements. While he was doing it, he was always with his lawyer and the statements he made are of different dates,” the witness added.

The confessional statements made by the 1st defendant were tendered and admitted in evidence as Exhibits P51 A, B, C & D

But an attempt to tender the confessional statement of the 2nd defendant, Yusuf Pam, was opposed by his counsel, S. O. Oyewole, who claimed that the statements were not voluntarily given. Consequently, Justice Dapub adjourned till Friday, February 11, 2022, for a trial–within-trial to determine whether the defendant made the statement under duress as claimed.

At the resumed hearing today, the PW10, Musa, led in evidence by Jacobs, SAN, narrated how the 2nd defendant was invited by the EFCC for interrogation as part of investigations into the alleged fraud.

“The second defendant was invited to our office at Wuse 2, Abuja. He made his first statement on January 16, 2017 in an open office with other officers about 15 in number, including the Unit Head, Babaginda Umar, Janet Justin, Simon Okom among others who were present carrying out various duties assigned to them. We brought out the statement of the OSSG and showed it to him. We asked him to tell us if he was the Yusuf Pam mentioned in that statement of account. He looked at the account carefully and said ‘yes’, that he is familiar with the account but was only a cashier in the OSSG, that he is not a signatory to that account.

“At the end of the interview, my team leader asked him if he would volunteer a statement, he answered ‘yes’. At that time, he was cautioned that he should be truthful and that anything he says will be used as evidence in a Court of Law. He followed us to our working office where I have my desk, my two other colleagues and other members of that team. That was where he sat down and my colleagues administered a word of caution on the statement form, read to him, himself also read through and he admitted that he understood the cautionary word. He signed the cautionary word and dated it, from there he started the statement. Pam was asked relevant questions concerning the role he played in respect to the suspicious transactions, and he rendered the statements”, he said.

Musa said additional statements were made by Pam on 16th November 2017, 10th March 2018, 27th April 2018, 30th April 2018 and 3rd May 2018.

“He made statements on different days with the same procedure, until he was granted bail on 17th January 2017 and asked to be reporting every two weeks. Pam was never slapped, manhandled or tortured at any point to make his statements” he said.

Jacobs tendered several statements, application for bail and bail bond as exhibits.

The Court admitted the statements of 2nd defendant, Yusuf Pam and Permanent Secretary, Habila Sung, dated 16th January 2017, 16th November 2017, 10th March 2018, 27th April 2018, 30th April 2018 and 3rd May 2018 as Exhibit  PWT 1, PWT2, PWT 3, PWT 4, PWT 5, PWT 6, PWT 7, PWT 8, PWT 9 and PWT10 respectively,

Afterwards, Jacobs called another witness, Ushie Simon Okom, an operative of the EFCC who testified that
EFCC officers are professionals and would never slap anyone while giving their statements. “My lord, if the suspect says he is not going to write any statements, we cannot force him, EFCC would never slap anyone while giving their statements.

“He was not forced, beaten or slapped when he was writing his statement; nobody beat him, the statement of account was given to him and he was checking it on his own and writing. His boss was present when he was making his statement, he was not harassed,” he said.

Justice Dabup adjourned the matter till March 22, 23, 24 and April 26, 27, and 28, 2022 for the continuation of the hearing.

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