A PLATEAU State High Court sitting in Jos has remanded former Governor Jonah Jang, in prison pending ruling in the bail application over alleged corruption and misappropriation.
The judge, Justice Daniel Longji, gave the order after listening to the arguments and submissions of both defense and prosecution counsels.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Monday May 7, arraigned Jang on a 12- count charge bordering on alleged corruption and misappropriation.
Jang, who is representing Plateau North Senatorial District, is alleged to have misappropriated over N6.3 billion, two months to the end of his tenure, as governor of Plateau in 2015.
Jang was governor between 2007 and 2015 – a period within which he allegedly misappropriated the said funds.
The senator, who was arraigned alongside Yusuf Gyang Pam by EFCC on a 12-count charge, pleaded not guilty to the counts.
According to the charges, Jang allegedly embezzled over N4 billion from the state coffers through Pam, a cashier in the office of the Secretary to the State Government.
Pam was alleged to have personally enriched himself with N11 million.
The prosecution counsel said the offences contravened Section 315 of the Penal Code.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The defence counsel, Robert Clarke, in a written application during the arraignment, prayed the court to grant his clients bail on self-recognisance as a two-time governor and a serving senator.
He said if the bail was granted, his clients would not jump bail but would be available at all times for trial.
But the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, urged the court to refuse the application for bail.
He cited Section 341 (2) of the 1999 Constitution and argued that an offence which attracts an imprisonment of more than three years was not bail-able offence.
Jacobs added that the offences alleged to have been committed by the defendants were serious and, therefore, should not be granted bail.
He submitted that with Jang’s military background, if granted the bail, would intimidate witnesses and use his influence to scare them away.
According to Rotimi (SAN) Sections 36(5), which provides that everybody who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proven guilty, is not in line with the law that governs the criminal prosecution against Jang and Pam.
He said: “Any offence that exceeds three years should not be treated as ordinary and presumable for bail.”
But after listening to arguments of both parties, Justice Longji said he would need enough time to analyse the arguments for and against the bail application in comparison with the charges.
He, therefore, adjourned the case to May, 2018 24 for ruling on the bail application.
He said: ‘There is a situation here where the Law becomes an axe. I have not studied the charges and I cannot use my personal knowledge of the accused person(s) to ask him to go on bail.
“They should be remanded in prison custody pending the ruling on his bail on Thursday next week.”