Friday, February 22, 2019

EFCC: How Jonah Jang’s supporters landed him in prison

EFCC: How Jonah Jang’s supporters landed him in prison
July 31
10:17 2018

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says Jonah Jang, former governor of Plateau, was sent to prison because of the role some of his supporters played when he was arraigned in court.

The anti-graft agency disclosed this in the latest edition of its monthly media publication, EFCC ALERT.

Jang is standing trial for allegedly misappropriating N6.3 billion during his tenure in office.

The ex-governor was in the custody of the anti-graft agency for nine days before he was arraigned in the state high court on May 16.

Supporters of the ex-governor under the aegis of Jang Support Group were said to have stormed the court, protesting the alleged jungle justice meted to him.

“By 7am of Wednesday, the whole community was enveloped in an air of rowdiness, as the carnival of unruly supporters stormed the high court, under the aegis of the Jang Support Group,” the report read.

“It was a group made up of youths in the state, the very set of people whose cause in our minds, we thought we were defending.

“They blocked every entrance to the court protesting what they termed, jungle justice meted on Jang. They portrayed him as a saviour with a larger than life persona. It was the beginning of a rather shocking spectacle that beat the imagination.

“To maintain law and order, more than 200 security operatives, had to be dispatched to secure the court premises.”

During the arraignment, Robert Clarke, Jang’s counsel, moved a motion for his bail application.

Rotimi Jacobs, counsel to EFCC, prayed the court not to grant Jang bail, because “the fear is that the accused may influence, interfere or intimidate witnesses in the matter, due to his influence and connection.”

The presiding judge was reported to have offered Jang the option of  remaining in the custody of the EFCC pending the hearing of his bail application.

However, Jacob argued that the anti-graft agency could not guarantee Jang’s safety in transit over fear of the protesting youths.

The judge then ruled that Jang be remanded in Jos prison while he adjourned the hearing of the bail application to May 24.

“Invariably, the question was: where will Jang stay pending the court giving its decision on the application? In fact, the trial judge put this question to Jang, himself, offering him the chance of staying in the comfort of the EFCC custody, instead of the Jos Prison,” it read.

“But, immediately, Jacobs opposed the EFCC custody alternative, and notified the court that it will be risky to take him back to Abuja, as ‘we cannot guarantee what will happen in terms of his safety’.

“It caused another stir, as the judge, with his hands tied, more or less, ordered Jang be taken to prison, and fixed May 24 to hear the application.”

After eight days in prison, Jang was granted a N100 million bail.


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