Wednesday 9 February 2022



By: Valentine Adese (JP),

The trial of the former governor of Plateau State, Sen. Jonah David Jang, continued today at the Plateau State High Court in Jos, with two more witnesses called by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to testify on the financial accusations against Jang and a Cashier at the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG).

You would recall that, among other charge against the former governor is the alleged looting of the state funds and the question of the whereabouts of the N2bn loan acquired from the CBN to developed SMEs in the state.

At the trial today, the EFCC called, one Mr.  F. Jonah, a Civil Servant, serving in the office of the SSG and a retired Permanent Secretary, Mr. Chuwang S. Davou.

In his Examination in Chief, Mr. Jonah told the court that, he is one of the Principal Officers, who takes munities during the state’s Security Council and State Executive Committee (SEC) meetings.

He also disclosed that, in 2014, there were 14 of such meets held during the former governor’s tenure.

According to him, himself and one Mr. B. Emmanuel, usually take the munities, develop them and later forward same to the Permanent Secretary for vetting during and after the meetings.

“After vetting, it is presented at Council meetings for adoption by a Council member, through a motion and seconded by another. The SSG is always the Secretary at such meetings, while the Governor chairs it and the SSG is the last person that receives the munities. These munities are usually not signed, as the adoption validates it”. He disclosed.

Mr. Jonah told the Court that, the administration of Sen. Jang, requested for a N5billion loan from Zenith Bank to finance ongoing infrastructures in the state, with a tenure of 36 months and that the memo was prepared by the then Commissioner of Finance, Mr. Davou Mann, and N600million from Fidelity Bank, to balance outstanding payments in the state.

According to Mr. Jonah, all the requests were approved by the State Executive Council despite the fact that, the administration only had 2 months to end its tenure and the request not disclosing the outstanding payments.

The witness added that, some of the meetings were chaired by the Deputy Governor.

However, under Cross-examination by Prof. Mike Ozekhome (SAN) Counsel to Sen. Jang (1st Defendant), who is with E. G. Pwajok (SAN), leading other Lawyers, and S. Oyawole Esq, Counsel to Mr. Yusuf Pam (2nd Defendant), Mr. Jonah told the court that he is conversant with the Civil Service Rules to some extent. That he never worked directly with the former governor and has never reported to his office for duty.

Jonah said he never found any money with Sen. Jang in his home, Bank account, Wife, Children or any relative.

Furthermore, Jonah told the court that he has never being/serve as the chairman of the Security Council or SEC nor is he a member of any security outfits operating in the state.

“Not being a member of any of the security outfits in the state, I will not know the level of insecurity and challenges they face. I was never a member of the state Exco at anytime. I was just a necessary corollary because, I was not the Commissioner of Finance.

“I was a staff in the SSG’s office as Assistant Chief Admin Officer. The overall Boss is the SSG.

“There is nowhere in the munities to show that adoption tantamount to validation. I am aware that there is internal and external borrowings however, subject to procedures.

“But I cannot show any borrowing internally other than the Bank.

“It is not the duty of the Security Council to re-deliberate the approval of funds already approved by the State House of Assembly.

“Yes, the Security Agencies are Federal Government Agencies and you are right to say that they have their own budget”. He told the Court.

The second witness of the EFCC, was Mr. Sylvester Davou, a retired Permanent Secretary, who claimed he was appointed to be the General Manager (GM) of Plateau State Small Medium Enterprise Development Agency (PLASMEDA), but was never given the letter of appointment.

He told the court that, he was aware of the CBN N2billion loan through the Mr. Davou Mann, the then Commissioner of Finance who also informed him of his appointment.

“The Hon. Commissioner of Finance then, Mr. Davou Mann forwarded the resolution of the Plateau state House of Assembly and showed me my letter of appointment as GM and the 5 staff to the appointed out of the 6 recommended”.

Mr. Sylvester claimed that, he never performed his function in office but that, he signed a letter directing the CBN to pay the request sum of N2billion to Project I Account after PLASMEDA account was rejected.

“I wrote the letter to the CBN, conveying the Account of PIPC to Mudashiru a Director of Finance at the CBN yet, he was not satisfied. He said he has reservation on the decision of plateau state government. He said he preferred that of PLASMEDA.

However, during cross-examinations, Mr. Sylvester blamed his inability to function on the CBN for not providing the needed training and approving the Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) to benefit from the scheme.

He also showed surprise, when shown communications between the CBN and the Plateau State Government.

He said, “I am just seeing the response of the CBN but it was not sent to me. I see some inconsistency here! The State Special Purpose Vehicle is a semantic for PLASMEDA. I really do not know what the fund was used for as I was not a member of SEC”.

In all, over 42 documents have been tendered as exhibits so far in the matter before Hon. Justice Dabub.

You would also recall that the trial is beginning so moto under the court presided over by, Hon. Justice C Dabub.

The highlights of today trial, was the appearance of Governor Wike to observe and witness the trail.

Governor Wike, was recognized by his colleagues as a Life Bencher, with echoes of praises for his administrative style in Rivers State and calls to other Governors to emulate him.

They acclaimed that, he is a shining example of Lawyers in governorship and other elected political offices.

The matter is adjourned to today 10/02/2022, for further hearing.

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