Disputed N2b MSME fund not paid to Jang’s account, says EFCC witness

Senator Jonah David Jang

• Agency arraigns seven over alleged N148.3m fraud
A Jos High Court was yesterday told that N2 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME), was not paid into the personal account of former Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang. A witness called by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr. Uchenna Igwe, disclosed this yesterday, in a presided over by Justice Daniel Longji.

The suit against the ex-governor of and his accountant, Yusuf Gyang Pam, commenced yesterday as EFCC called two witnesses.The EFCC accused them of diverting the fund, which was meant to cushion the hardship of the citizenry under the Plateau State Small and Medium Development Enterprises (PLASMEDA).

Igwe, a Senior Manager with Zenith Bank, who headed the branch when the money was allegedly paid, said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) meant that the money be paid into Plateau State Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (PLASMEDA), but it was paid into Plateau Project account.

While being cross-examined by the defence counsel, Chief Robert Clarke (SAN), Igwe said: “When I noticed it, I immediately notified the state commissioner of finance and accountant-general. The accountant-general raised an instruction to move it into PLASMEDA account, and I complied on March 20, 2015.

“Another instruction came from the same accountant-general to the effect that the money be moved back to Plateau Project account on March 24, 2015, and that was done.”He disclosed that thereafter, the money was disbursed in tranches into various accounts, including State’s Central Salary Account, Office of the Secretary to the State Government (OSSG), Government House Administrative Account, and Plateau State House of Assembly Account.

Igwe added that before the N2 billion was paid into the Plateau Project Account, the balance in the account was N839, 398,474.39, adding that with the N2 billion, the account balance was raised to N2, 839,398,474.39.Another EFCC witness, Dr. Mudashiru Olaitan, Director, Development Finance Department with the CBN, represented by the EFCC Counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) also testified.

Olaitan explained that the CBN had to write to the state government when its monitoring team observed that the N2billion was not disbursed to the end users.Justice Longji adjourned the case till today for continuation of trial.

Meanwhile the EFCC yesterday arraigned six men and a company over alleged N148. 302 million fraud, before Justice Justice Babs Kuewumi of a Federal High Court in Lagos.Those arraigned were Alimi Haruna, Momouda Mohammed, Shittu Muideen, Akpojaro Amos, Joga Yusuf, Duru Patrick, and Ashmina Oil and Gas Limited.

The suspects were charged for alleged conspiracy, money laundering, unlawfully retaining proceed of illicit act, obtaining huge amount of money without going through financial institution and obtaining under false pretence.

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