How Former Governor of Plateau Jang, a Former Cashier, Diverted Funds from Small and Medium Businesses

Witnesses for the prosecution told the Plateau State High Court on Thursday how a former Plateau State governor, Jonah Jang, and a former state government teller allegedly siphoned off funds intended for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the state. The cashier, Yusuf Pam, was said to be attached to the Office of the State Secretary of Government (OSSG). The allegedly embezzled funds released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) were said to be intended for artisans, small farmers, market women and other small entrepreneurs. The funds were first diverted to the account of the Plateau state government and its agencies before eventually being moved to private accounts, according to prosecution witnesses cited in a statement from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Testifying as the 13th witness for the prosecution, a deputy director in charge of development with CBN, Musa Olashuko, before the judge, CL Dabup, gave some insight into the alleged diversion. “We made an inquiry about the regular flow of funds between the accredited account communicated to us by the state government and the account of the Plateau State Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (PLASMEDAN). “We realized that the funds were diverted to accounts related to the state government and its agencies and that no disbursement was made through the initial beneficiaries, ie SMEs,” said Mr. Olashuko. When CBN noted the inappropriateness of the deal, Mr. Olashuko said a recommendation was made that he take over the Issuance of Irrevocable Standing Order (ISPO) issued by the state government to recover the funds. He further said that the money was supposed to be sent directly from Zenith Bank as the bank hosting the money to the recipients’ accounts within five business days, but the Plateau state government allegedly diverted the funds to various state accounts. . While questioning the witness, the first defendant’s lawyer, EG Pajwok, Nigeria’s Senior Counsel, asked the witness if, in the course of their investigation in Jos, they went to the PLASMEDAN office or contacted any of the officials. He replied that CBN later found out that “PLASMEDAN was just a creation on paper. No building, no officials. The creation was not supported by any structural or operational framework”. ICPC operative testifies The fourteenth witness for the prosecution, Taiwo Oloronyomi, Chief Superintendent of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and Other Related Offenses (ICPC), also testified that Mr. Jang diverted the N2 billion earmarked for MSMEs. Mr. Oloronyomi told the court that ICPC’s investigation revealed that the sum of N2 billion was not deposited in the PLASMEDAN account as stated in the Memorandum of Understanding between the Plateau State government and the CBN. “My lord, we discovered that this money was deposited in the Plateau State Project 1 Account as opposed to the PLASMEDAN account. “Our investigation also revealed that the money was moved in tranches from the Project 1 Account by the second defendant, upon approval of the first defendant, directing his officials: Permanent Secretary, Cabinet and Special Services, State Accountant General and the commissioner. of finance for the purpose of classified expenses,” he said. “My lord, the second defendant received checks and withdrew the money in tranches, over several days, and took it to the first defendant. When we learned that, we invited him and he voluntarily told us orally and in writing how he withdrew the money and took it to the first accused along with some security elements such as escorts, “he added. ALSO READ: Alleged N6.32 billion fraud: Jang has a case to answer, court rules Mr. Oloronyomi further told the court that the memorandum used in support of withdrawing the money was labeled “Classified Expense.” “My lord, we took action to find out what classified expenses are, but found that no correspondence in the state government was labeled as such. We invited the governor, who also wrote a statement but was unable to explain what he meant by classified spending.” The witness also told the court that they also investigated Plateau State’s SUBEB account and found that the same pattern was used to loot money from the account. “In the account, we discovered around N3 billion and the withdrawal pattern was the same as the PLASMEDAN account,” he said. The prosecution’s attorney, Rotimi Jacob, a lead attorney, moved to present the second defendant’s statement made to the ICPC as evidence. But the second defendant’s attorney, S. Olawale, disputed the admissibility of the document, saying it was made by his client under duress. He also said that his client was physically and psychologically tortured by an ICPC officer, Fatima Mohammed. Oloronyomi denied the accusation. The judge then ordered a trial within the trial to determine the truth of the defense’s claim. The prosecution and the attorney for the second defendant each presented one witness during the trial within the trial. Subsequently, Mr. Dapub, the trial judge, adjourned the matter until May 20 for the adoption of the final written speeches and May 30 for the ruling and continuation of the examination in chief. Charges Mr. Jang served as Governor of Plateau State from 2007 to 2015. He was later elected as a Senator representing the Plateau North senatorial district under the PDP in 2015. Jang is facing 12 charges for siphoning off 6.3 billion naira while in office. He has denied the charges. Read More Related News Here Let here it in the comment below if you do have an opinion on this; How Former Governor of Plateau Jang, a Former Cashier, Diverted Funds from Small and Medium Businesses