Jang’s alleged N6.3bn Fraud: Court fixes Dec. 23 for adoption of final written addresses
A Plateau High Court on Tuesday fixed Dec. 23 for adoption of final written addresses on the alleged N6.3 billion fraud case against former Governor, Jonah Jang and his former cashier in the cabinet office, Mr Yusuf Pam.
Justice Daniel Longji, the presiding Judge of High Court 4, made the pronouncement shortly after the hearing of the case in which a mild drama unfolded.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that when the case came up on Tuesday for continuation of hearing, Mr H.E. Ejega, EFCC counsel, while expressing reasons why the defence counsel including Chief Mike Ezokhome and Mr Edward Pwajok both SANs, could not file their replies to final addresses of “No case submissions”, described the activities of the defence counsel as “very mischievous” and “unprofessional “.
“It’s true that we last adjourned today, Tuesday Dec. 17 within which all parties would have filed their written addresses having given the defendants 14 days and to the prosecution, 10 days.
“ But we want to hereby vent our disappointment on the style of practice adopted by the defence, which is never known to the practice of the law profession.
“Even though they filed their written addresses of No case submission out of time, they chose to serve us of their processes in the office of our client, the EFCC, instead of Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) office, which is our address and so denied us of the opportunity of being aware of the service effected on Dec. 4.
“In fact, only yesterday, Monday Dec. 16 that the the EFCC brought the processes to our notice and of course, we couldn’t have replied them and filed ours before today, Tuesday, Dec. 17.
“To further show the defendants intended mischief , we found out that out of the blues there is an appeal in their written addresses on the our amended charges
“So My Lord, they can’t claim they weren’t aware of our address which is public before this court, but did it deliberately to deny us of the opportunity to meet up with the time of filing our addresses by serving our client, the EFCC instead.
“By this constraint, we urge your Lordship to humbly give us more time to enable us file our our addresses with counting starting from the day (Dec. 16) we were served, “ the prosecution counsel pleaded.
Responding, Ezokhome, who was visibly angry with the submission of the prosecution counsel, described the submission of the counsel as “not only unprofessional and unethical but grossly infamous.”
The SAN said it was the type of submission that the court should never tolerate nor allow and should use strong words to warn “never again should it repeat itself.”
“The prosecution counsel used strong and despicable words, which are full of mischief and unprofessional and provocative even with their glaring and abysmal failure to meet up the ruling of this honourable court.
“My Lord, their game plan is simple, which I will urge your Lordship not allow. Having seen their case has crumbled before their very eyes, and having worsen it with their amended charges, even when they know your Lordship has only Dec. 31 to retire, they want to take the cheap and ugly way out by seeing that the case starts afresh.
“We want to submit that it is actually the Prosecution that is mischievous and whose style of practice is questionable and highly unprofessional.
“Let’s take their claim that we filed our addresses out of time, the best way they would have attacked us was to come to your Lordship with a motion on notice that we filed out of time through preliminary objections.
“They can’t sit down in their office and decide for the court what is right and what is wrong. If you look at section 5(2) of the interpretation Act of the Law of FRN (2004) as amended, we filed our processes on Dec. 2, which if calculated, we were not out of time from Nov. 19.
“Again, we served the EFCC office with our processes on Dec. 4 because that is the address on the last document, which is the amended charges, so where is our fault here when the EFCC chose to only notify 12 days after?”, he said queried.
According to Ezokhome, “there is even no evidence to show that they were only notified yesterday, Dec. 16 but a tale no one should take serious. My Lord shouldn’t believe such a story.”
He urged the court to order the prosecution counsel to apologise over the “foul language” he used and the “lies” he told against/on the defense counsels.
“On their application for time to reply and file their addresses, we wouldn’t say let them be denied, but they should be given only two days to effect that so that your Lordship will have the opportunity to give judgment on this case, “ Ezokhome pleaded.
Also speaking, Mr Sunday Odey, lead Counsel to the 2nd defendant, Pam, also relied on the submission of Ezokhome and said “having violated the order of the court, the prosecution shouldn’t have been heard at all but for justice sake.”
Justice Longji, in his ruling, ordered the prosecution counsel to apologise to the defense counsel and Ejega quickly apologised with a promise it would not repeat itself.
The judge then gave the prosecution Thursday within which to reply and file their final written address.
He adjourned the case to Dec. 23 for adoption of final written addresses by all parties involved in the case.
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