Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
The trial of the former Governor of Plateau State, Air Commodore Jonah Jang (rtd) was stalled yesterday due to the claim by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that it was not ready yet to continue with the case.
Jang, who was governor between 2007 and 2015, is being prosecuted by the anti-graft agency alongside Yusuf Pam, a former cashier in the office of the Secretary to the state Government on 17-count charge.
The duo had pleaded not guilty to the offences bordering on criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public fund which they allegedly committed towards the end of the ex-governor’s tenure in 2015.
The accused were first arraigned before Justice Daniel Longji in March 2018.
However, the matter was reassigned to a new judge, Justice Christy Dabub after Longji retired in December 2019.
With the reassignment of the case to a new judge, which prompted a fresh trial, the EFCC which had earlier closed its case was billed to start calling for another round of witnesses to testify in the case on July 29 and 30, 2020, being the last adjourned dates.
However, when the trial resumed yesterday, EFCC counsel, Oluwatosin Mese announced his appearance but informed the court that the anti-graft agency was not prepared to proceed with the case yet.
He blamed the stalled trial on “skeletal” airline operations which he said made it impossible for the lead EFCC prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) to fly into the state to continue with the matter.
The EFCC counsel said “My Lord, in view of the public holiday slated for Thursday and Friday and equally the skeletal operations of the airlines, we are unable to proceed with the matter today (Wednesday). I plead that this matter be adjourned.”
Counsel to Jang, Edward Pwajok, (SAN) and the counsel to the second defendant, S Oyawole did not object to EFCC’s pleas for the case to be adjourned.
Justice Christy Dabub thereafter, adjourned the case till November 4 and 5, 2020.