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Jang Court grants ex-Plateau Governor N200m bail in N6.3bn fraud trial

Jang is to be released after presenting two sureties in the sum of N100 million each.

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Court grants Jang N200 million bail in N6.3bn fraud trial play Former Plateau state governor, Jonah Jang (Nigeria Trends)
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Former Plateau state governor, Senator Jonah Jang, has been granted bail by the Plateau State High Court as he stands trial for alleged misappropriation of N6.3 billion during his time in office.

In the 12-count charge filed against him and Yusuf Pam, a former Plateau government official, Jang is accused of misusing some special funds released to the state government by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

In a previous hearing last week, presiding judge, Justice Daniel Longji, had ordered that the two be remanded in prison after prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), argued that their charges were serious enough to make them flight risks.

However, during a bail hearing on Thursday, May 24, 2018, Justice Longji granted Jang bail on the condition that he presents two sureties in the sum of N100 million each. The judge ruled that one of the two sureties must be a first class traditional ruler, and the second must be a civil servant of not less than GL 17, both residing within the court's jurisdiction.

Pam was also granted bail on Thursday on the condition that he presents two sureties in the sum of N50 million each. Both defendants were also ordered to deposit their international passports with the court.

Justice Longji noted that the prosecution's earlier submission that the defendants would jump bail was a speculation without significant proof.

Jang is alleged to have misappropriated N2 billion released by the CBN for disbursement to small and medium enterprises in the state under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Funds (MSMEDF). He is also accused of siphoning the sum of N4.3 billion from the state's treasury through Pam who was working as a cashier in the office of the Secretary to the Plateau State Government at the time.

Count 8 and 9 of the charge reads, "That you, Senator Jonah David Jang, whilst being the Governor of Plateau State between January and May, 2015 in Jos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, used your office as Executive Governor of Plateau State to confer unfair advantage upon yourself by collecting the sum of N4,357,195,000 (Four billion, Three Hundred and Fifty-Seven Million, One Hundred and Ninety-Five Thousand Naira) from the cashier of the Office of the Secretary to the Plateau State Government, and which sum was derived from the account of Plateau State Government, and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

"That you, Yusuf Gyang Pam, whilst being a cashier at the Office of the Secretary to the Plateau State Government on 11th July, 2014 in Jos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, used your office as cashier at the Office of Secretary to the Plateau State Government to confer corrupt advantage upon yourself by making a cash lodgment of the sum of N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira) into your personal account with Zenith Bank and which sum was derived from the account of Plateau State Government , and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000"

The judge fixed the commencement of the trial for July 17, 18 and 19 as both defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Jang out of custody

After the judge's ruling on Thursday, the Gbong Gwom Jos, Gyang Buba, stood as a surety for Jang, who is a member of the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) and current representative of Plateau North senatorial district.

Buba is the highest traditional ruler of the Berom speaking people of Plateau State, a group Jang belongs, and is also the chairman of the state's council of chiefs.

Standing as Jang's surety, Buba was also required to deposit his international passport with the court, before the former governor left the court premises in the traditional ruler's official car.

74-year-old Jang was Plateau governor between 2007 and 2015 and is accused of committing the crime just two months to the end of his tenure in 2015.

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