- Yusuf Pam claimed he was forced to implicate former governor Jonah Jang in an alleged corruption case
- The former cashier claimed he was threatened by the EFCC to write an incriminating statement
- The judge handling the case ordered for a trial-within-trial
Yusuf Pam, a former cashier under the administration of former governor Jonah Jang of Plateau state, told a high court on Wednesday, April 10, that the statement he made indicting his former boss, was taken by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under duress.
Pam made the allegation while being cross-examined by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN.
Jang is currently a senator representing Plateau North senatorial district.
Messrs Jang and Yusuf Pam, a former cashier in the Plateau Government House, were arraigned by the EFCC over N6.3 billion fraud allegedly committed between September 2010 and October 2014.
Messrs Jang and Pam are charged with 12 counts of conspiracy and money laundering allegedly committed when he (Jang) was governor of Plateau state.
The EFCC alleged that the defendants conspired to defraud the state of N6.3 billion, via illegal acts.
The anti-graft agency said the acts were contrary to, and punishable under sections 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2011, as amended.
”When I got to the EFCC office, some officers threatened to detain me for two weeks. They also told me that I was under arrest and that anything I say would be used against me. I became scared and wrote what they wanted me to write,” he alleged.
The judge, Justice Daniel Longji, after listening to the defendant ordered for a trial-within-trial to ascertain if the statement was taken under duress.
Longji held that in criminal trial, the law was always in favour of the accused person adding that time should be given to the defence to prepare for the mini-trial. He adjourned the matter until April 25 and April 26 for trial-within-trial.
Earlier, counsel to the defendant, S.G Ode, however stated that his client was not ready to enter the trial as he needed adequate time and facilities to present his case citing Section 36 (6b) of the Evidence Act to prove his point.
But Jacobs argued that it was the duty of the prosecution to establish if the statement was made voluntarily or not stating the defense counsel prayer was simply to ‘gag’ him.
Meanwhile, Taiwo Olorunyomi, an investigator with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and witness indicted former Plateau governor Jonah Jang.
Olorunyomi alleged that Jang diverted N2 billion which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released to his government for small businesses in the state.
He made the allegation while being led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, in a high court in Plateau on Tuesday, April 9.
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