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The trial of a former governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang and Yusuf Pam continued on Thursday before Justice Daniel Longji, of the Plateau State High Court over an alleged N6.3 billion fraud.
Prosecution fourth witness, Habila Dung, a retired Permanent Secretary, Office to the State Government, Cabinet and Special Services Department, told the Court that he was tasked with generating memos for payment, taking minutes of meetings, among other administrative duties within the Secretariat assigned to him by his superiors.
While led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs(SAN), Dung gave details of how between January and May 2015, he generated memos approved by Jang for the payment of over N4 billion for the State Security Council, SSC.
Dung said: “The memos for the money, which were approved by Jang, then governor, were then directed to the Commissioner of Finance for payment.
“The funds are then released to Pam, the cashier, after the Accountant General of the state credited the account of the Cabinet Special Services account domiciled with Zenith Bank Plc.”
Dung explained that the said account was created for the purpose of maintaining the Cabinet and for Special Services, including overhead cost and salaries account of political office holders.
The witness explained that the cashier would withdraw the money using cheques, which was signed by him and taken to Jang at the Government House.
Dung said: “I witnessed Pam taking cash to the governor at the Government House on several occasions.
“The money is captured as security expenditure in the Budget and paid to members of the SSC, including the governor, his deputy, director, State Security Services, Commander, Air Force Base, Commander, Nigeria Civil Defence Corps, Commissioner of Police, Commissioner of Finance, Commissioner of Information”, the witness said.
Other beneficiaries of the money, according to Dung were “State Coordinator, Military Intelligence, Special Adviser on security, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Special Adviser Special Duties, Secretary to the State Governor, Director, Research and Documentation.
“The SSC is saddled with the task of compiling monthly intelligence report and circulating the reports to the President, the Defence Headquarters, Security Chiefs and other states of the Federation.”
Dung noted that there was never a time when the money approved was not disbursed.
Jacobs, thereafter, tendered in evidence, the various memos and electronic payment documents in relation to the withdrawals made on January 24, 2015 (N210 million); January 30, 2015 (N210 million); March 17, 2015 (N216 million); March 20, 2015 (N214 million);
March 26, 2015 (N350 million); March 27, 2015 (N350 million); April 7, 2015 (N650 million); April 8, 2015 (N750 million); April 9, 2015 (N150 million), and April 10, 2015 (N210 million).
Counsel for Jang, Mike Ozekhome(SAN) and counsel for Pam, S.A. Odey, raised no objections to the admissibility of the documents.
Justice Longji, thereafter, admitted in evidence the memos for the classified expenditure as Exhibits P29A – P29J, and the electronic payment mandate as Exhibits P30A – P30F.
Andrew Orolua, Abuja