Alleged N6.3bn fraud: I didn’t hide money for Jang – Cashier challenges EFCC in court
Following the alleged N6.3 billion fraud against a former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang, a former cashier in the office of the Secretary to the Government of Plateau State, Mr. Yusuf Pam, on Tuesday told a Jos High Court that he never hid money for the former governor of the state, throughout his eight-year tenure.
We recalls that Pam and Senator Jang are standing trial in a 12-count brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, bordering on alleged corruption and misappropriation.
The anti-graft agency had alleged that Jang, who served as Plateau Governor between 2007 and 2015, misappropriated over N6billion, two months to the end of his tenure as governor through Pam, who served as cashier in the office of the Secretary to the State Government (SGS).
However, testifying under cross examination to a claim by the EFCC that Mr. Pam admitted in his written statements to being the one that paid monies into Jang’s Zenith Bank account and thereafter tendered the deposit slips to the former Governor, the former Cashier told the court the information was false.
Pam said, “My Lord, I was not answerable to the Governor directly, I never hid money for him when he was Governor. I have a Permanent Secretary, Cabinet and Special Services, who is the Accounting Officer in the office of the Secretary to the State Government. I tried to explain this to the EFCC official, Mr Sunday Musa during my interrogation and he landed a slap on my face and forced me to make statements the way they wanted it.”
Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) had at the last sitting on July 23, 2019 led Mr. Sunday Musa, an EFCC investigator, in evidence wherein he claimed that Pam admitted to being the one that assisted the former Governor to loot the State’s treasury.
According to Sunday, Pam was invited by the EFCC for interrogation as part of investigation into the alleged fraud during which he made the statement.
He said: “Pam had made his first statement on January 16, 2017 in an open space office at the EFCC with other officers about 10 in number including the Unit Head, Babaginda Umar, Janet Justin, Simon Okon among others who were present carrying out various duties assigned to them.
“Pam was cautioned that he should be truthful and that anything he says will be used as evidence in a court of Law.
“In line with the investigation, Pam was asked relevant questions concerning the role he played in respect to the suspicious transactions, and he rendered the statements”.
But when the EFCC Counsel sought to tender the statements before the court, which he claimed were voluntarily made by Pam in the course of investigations, Counsel to Pam, D.P. Dusu, raised an objection to the admissibility of the statements arguing that his client made the statements under duress, a development which prompted the trial judge to order a trial within trial in order to determine the veracity of the documents.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, Pam who was led in evidence by his Counsel narrated how he was slapped and tortured by Mr Sunday Musa to make the controversial statements.
Pam said, “My Lord, all the statements I made to the EFCC in writing was dictated to me by them. I was slapped, detained and tortured. They wanted me to do as they wanted so that they would release me, so I actually wrote what they dictated to me to write because the torture was too much.”
Justice Daniel Longji adjourned the matter to Wednesday (tomorrow) August 7th, 2019, for continuation of hearing.