Judge scolds EFCC for fumbling in Jang’s N6.2b corruption case

Justice Daniel Longji of the Plateau State High Court yesterday berated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for “laxity” in the prosecution of Senator Jonah Jang in the N6.2 billion corruption case.

The former governor of Plateau State was accused of misappropriating the money during his tenure as governor. The judge had on November 18, 2019 fixed yesterday for hearing and ruling on the no-case submission filed by Jang’s lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN).

At the resumed hearing of the case in Jos yesterday, EFCC counsel sought another adjournment, stating that the anti-graft agency was not ready to proceed with the case, as it was only served on December 16, which he described as too late for response. He blamed the defence counsel for their inability to file the necessary reply, accusing him of failing to comply with the 14 days period earlier given by the court to file their no-case submission.

The prosecution also accused the former governor’s lawyer of mischief for serving the no-case submission to the EFCC office in Abuja instead of the office of the lead counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), a development which he claimed denied the prosecution the opportunity to file a reply within the time frame.

Furious Ozekhome argued that the reasons adduced by the EFCC not to go ahead with the matter was a ploy to ensure that the court did not hear the matter anymore, having sensed defeat ahead. He maintained that the prosecution was served with the no-case submission on record time and that they could not be blamed for failure to file the appropriate response to enable the court continue with the case.

Ozekhome said. “The outing by the prosecution is not only professionally unethical, but grossly infamous and the type this court should deprecate using the strongest word and warn that it should never repeat in the annals of the legal practice.

“The game plan is that having seen their case crumble before their eyes and having worsened their case through their later day amendment and knowing that my lord’s last day of sitting is December 31, they want to take the cheap and easy way out of imminent defeat by ensuring that the court does not hear this matter.

“We insist that it is the prosecution’s style of practice that is mischievous and highly unprofessional.”He urged the court to refuse the application.The case was adjourned till December 23, 2019 for continuation of hearing.

Justice Longji had earlier said that he had bitten more than he could chew with 17 judgements to deliver before his retirement on December 31, 2019, adding that 10 were ready and he might transfer the remaining to the Chief Judge for re-assignment.

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EFCCJonah Jang
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