The trial of a former Plateau State governor, Jonah Jang, continued Wednesday with a prosecution witness, Emmanuel Kpanja, giving details of how about N2 billion was withdrawn at various times from the Plateau State Government’s account.
Jang is standing trial on a 12-count charge along with Yusuf Pam, a cashier, for an alleged N6.3 billion fraud before Justice Daniel Longji of a Plateau State High Court. Jang is accused of abusing his office and misappropriating state funds.
Kpanja, a staff of Zenith Bank Plc, Bukuru branch, Jos, is testifying as the third witness.
Led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, Kpanja narrated how in 2007, the account of the Plateau State Office was opened along with that for the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, OSSG Special Cabinet Savings Account, which he became the Relationship Manager.
In his examination-in-chief, Kpanja gave details of how several sums of money were withdrawn from the state government’s account.
He said: “On 21 January 2015, N10 million was withdrawn 31 times along with N7.3 million and N3.4 million amounting to N310 million, and the following day, January 22, N10 million was withdrawn 16 times along with N5 million twice, amounting to N170 million. And on January 30, N10 million was withdrawn 21 times from Plateau State Government Project 1 Account on same day amounting N210 million.
“On March 17, 2015, there was a withdrawal of N8. 5 million and N10 million withdrawn 26 times making N268.5 million all cheques collected by Yusuf Pam.
“On March 16, 2015, there were series of transactions involving several deposits made to the account two deposits of N45 million, N75 million, N8 million, N17 million, N100 million, N165 million and all the credits came from Plateau State Government Account.
“On March 20, 2015, N150 million was withdrawn seven times totalling over N1 billion also received on the account from the Plateau State Government Account, and they were all withdrawn by Pam on the same day.
“There was also a memo dated April 2, 2015, for N150 million being a request for classified expenditure from the Government Office.
“On May 26, 2016, there was a further withdrawal of N10 million withdrawn 10 times making a debit of N100 million by Pam and the account was closed after the letter addressing all ministries, departments and parastatal to implement the Treasury Single Account, TSA by the current administration.”
Earlier in the course of proceedings, when Jacobs sought to tender in evidence, the account opening forms and letter of identification for OSSG Cabinet and Special Services Account with Zenith Bank, and OSSG Overhead Account with the same bank, counsel for Jang, Mike Ozekhome, SAN objected to the admissibility of the documents, arguing that they were not made by Kpanja.
Justice Longji, however, overruled the objection, noting that the argument that the person who signed the document must appear in court does not have any legal backing as stipulated by the Evidence Act.
“To say that we should not admit the documents in court because the witness is not the maker of the document, is like saying we should throw away the baby with the baby napkin because the napkin was soiled, and so I hereby admit the documents as Exhibits B23 and B24,” the trial judge held.
Appeal Court reverses conviction of Gen. Sani by Court Martial, orders re-trial
The Court of Appeal, Abuja has set aside the decision of a Special Military Court Martial to convict former Chief of Transformation and Innovation at the Nigerian Army Headquarters, Maj.- Gen. Ibrahim Sani.
Justice Abubakar Yahaya led two other justices of the appellate court to void the proceedings leading to the conviction and sentencing.
The judgment given on April 18 on appeal marked CA/A/791/2017 was contained in an enrolled order made available to newsmen by Mr Mahmud Magaji (SAN), Counsel for the appellant (Sani) on Thursday in Abuja.
The appellate court was of the view that the appellant was denied fair hearing in the trial.
“The proceedings and judgement of the special court martial in respect of charge No: NA/COAS/GI/39/16 filed before the lower Special Court Martial is hereby set aside.
“An order is made for the retrial of the charges against the appellant by another Special Court Martial’’, Yahaya held.
Speaking with newsmen, Magaji said: “by this decision, setting aside the judgement of the Special Court Martial, the proceedings, conviction and sentence of the court never existed in the eyes of the law.
“They are null and void. Therefore, the Nigerian Army is obligated to obey the judgement by restoring the appellant to his rank as a Major General with all his benefits and entitlements.”
Sani was arraigned on July 4, 2016 on a nine-count charge bordering on service property, making of false documents and cheating.
The alleged offence were punishable under Sections 56(2), 66(a), 90(a) and 113(3) of the Armed Forces Act (AFA), CAP A20, LFN, 2004.
The charge was a full out from an alleged criminal role he played in the management of a large parcel of land allocated to the Nigerian Army in Asokoro area of the FCT.
He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and in the course of the arraignment, count 9 was struck out for being duplication of count 3.
At the close of the prosecution’s case, the appellant made a no-case submission in respect of all the remaining 8 counts.
The Court Martial, in a ruling on the no-case submission, struck out count 5 on the grounds that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case linking the appellant with the alleged unlawful act.
The appellant also challenged the jurisdiction of the Court Martial on alleged contravention of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Sani further challenged the competence of the president of the special court and a member and other issues bordering on his right to fair hearing, which were eventually dismissed.
Man collects N850,000 bride price, fails to give daughter’s hand in marriage
A 47-year-old man, Jibrin Attom, on Thursday appeared in an Ajegunle Magistrates’ Court, Apapa, Lagos, for allegedly failing to give out his daughter’s hand in marriage after collecting N850,000.
Attom, who resides in Olodi-Apapa Area of Ajegunle, Lagos, is facing a charge of obtaining money under false pretence.
The Prosecutor, Sergeant Kolade Tedunjaye, told the court that the defendant collected N850,000 from the complainant, Mr Mohammed Umar-Abdul, with a promise that he would give him daughter for marriage.
“The defendant’s daughter, Kathoma, and the complainant had agreed to get married and her father had collected the money as part of the bride price.
“But his daughter left the complainant and got married to another man,” Tedunjaye said.
The prosecutor said the complainant then demanded for refund of his money, but did not get it.
“The complainant reported the case to the police and the defendant was arrested.’’
According to the prosecutor, the offence contravened Section 314 of Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
The section provides 15 years jail term for offenders.
The Magistrate, Mr B. M. Amore, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N100, 000 with two sureties in like sum and adjourned the case until May 6 for continuation of hearing.
Umar Mohammed Bago, Man With Passion For Service
-Why He Wants To Be Reps Speaker
Umar Mohammed Bago is not just another member of the Federal House of Representatives, he is a man that has the wherewithal and the qualities of a leader of the 21st Century, whose antecedents show that he could turn a stone to bread and bring water out of the rock.
The people of Chanchanga Federal Constituency in Niger State knew better, when they voted for Bago to be their representative in the House of Reps in 2011 and repeated the same in 2015 and 2019.
Bago has since proven the be the best man for the job with the way he has influenced development to the area and touched the lives of the people in the constituency.
The 45-year-old politician is an alumnus of the Federal Government College, Jos and he graduated with a degree in Political Science from Uthman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto and holds a Post Graduate Diploma.
His educational career continued as he went ahead to obtain Masters Degrees in Management, Business Administration and Finance and he is an alumnus of the prestigious Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.
Bago cut his teeth in banking at the Central Bank of Nigeria, United Bank of Africa, Standard Trust Bank (STB), FCMB, and Afribank.
As a member of the Federal House of Representatives, his experiences are for the records.
He was a member of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, Appropriation and Communication Technology, Defense, as well as Loans and Debts.
He has also served in other committees such as National Planning and Economic Development, Media and Publicity, and he is a member of several civil societies and donor agencies.
In 2015, Bago was made the Chairman of the House Committee on Maritime, Safety, Education and Administration.
While some of his colleagues could not boast of making differences in the green chamber, Bago has so far moved 20 motions on the floor of the House, sponsored 15 bills and co-sponsored several others.
The people of Bago’s constituency are living testimonies of his people-oriented empowerment programmes and constituency projects.
The cerebral nationalist is well travelled, exposed, urbane and speaks Nupe, Hausa and Yoruba fluently.
Bago is one of the politicians that have no baggage and people believe that the House of Representatives deserves such a politician to be it’s leader.
Some of his thoughts have become reference points for those, who believe in quality leadership and progressive minded politicians.
Bago once stated that “I observed with continued amazement and curiousity that the issue of equity in geopolitical balancing as enshrined in the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, has not been seen and taken seriously rather the issue of capacity and competence is being touted.
“The question is capacity and competence in what? To move motions and bills? Chair committee sessions? Educational background? Party loyalty? humbly speaking; if these are the indices to define capacity and competence, I am very qualified.”
Bago believes that if its the job of Speaker that “we are talking about, the Speaker will not be moving motions or Bills. Only Speaker Yakubu Dogara had moved a bill on the floor of the house of representatives in recent history of the house over the last twenty years.”
He stressed that a great speaker could not emerge from disdain for the constitution with which he will be sworn in, adding that the capacity and competence must be situated within constitutional prescriptions.
“Lastly the Speaker must enjoy earned confidence of members out of his relatability capacity and quotient
“An effective Speaker must be able to ride on provable ability that every member and stakeholders will find comfort and accommodation in him, by reputation.
“I am called Mr.Relatable because this is what my life embodies and it did not start with the aspiration to be Speaker,” he said.
Bago was quoted to have said that the demand for equity is at the “nucleus of my aspiration before my nature as a very relatable personality or my capacity and competence, and so demanding for equitable treatment is not about indulging or being gratuitous to the North Central, rather its fact based and well earned, not frivolous; from the facts that the North Central zone gave our party the third highest votes at the 2019 Presidential election, to the zone never had a speaker of house of Representatives in 20years since 1999!
“These are facts! Of course in the mix is the need for a youth inclusion at that level of our political administration; these are claims that are real making my aspiration legitimate, fair and just…”
He said further that “I just watched the Seun Okinbaloye’s Politics Today and saw how the North Central geopolitical zone asking for equity was dismissively and condescendingly referred to by my colleague Hon. Abdulmumini, when he said there are other positions “within” the house leadership that the North Central can be “given”, affirming that south west zone(lagos) that gave our party 2million votes and has Vice President of Nigeria by entitlement should also get the Speaker House of Representatives while Northcentral geopolitical zone that gave APC/President Buhari 2.4million votes should settle for Chief whip?Or Deputy Whip..etc! My heart bleeds…”
He maintained that a zone that in 20 years had never produced Speaker or Deputy inspite of huge support for APC…where is equity, justice, fairness that the Nigerian constitution and that of APC prescribed.
“A case of a father of six openly showing favouritism to a child out of the six, in a six bedroom house is giving two rooms to the favourite child and asking four others to take the remaining four rooms and sending one child to go and stay in the boy’s quarters, even when he has been a good child… hmmm…May God bless Nigeria…” he said.
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